Asian victims of sexual exploitation are being neglected
10th September 2013
Research published today by Muslim Women's Network UK (MWNUK) reveals that Asian girls are being sexually exploited and authorities are failing to identify or support them. They are most vulnerable to offenders from their own communities who manipulate cultural norms to prevent them from reporting their abuse. This has lessons for all communities – sexual predators tend to target those closest to them.
The report, ‘Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young
Women,’ is based on 35 case studies from across England submitted in a call
for evidence. The majority are Muslim
with almost two thirds of British Pakistani heritage. Key
findings from the research include:
Although the research focuses on Asian
Muslim victims, it provides lessons for all.
MNWUK makes the following key recommendations:
Shaista Gohir, Chair of MWNUK, lead researcher and author of the report, said:
"This report challenges the stereotype that child sexual exploitation is a racial crime in which Asian offenders target White girls only. The findings indicate that Asian girls are even more vulnerable than White girls to exploitation by Asian predators - they are considered a 'less risky' option because they are less likely to report abuse due to shame and dishonour."
"We can't say from the research that child sexual exploitation is more of a problem in Asian or Muslim communities but what we can say is that Asian or Muslim victims often fall through the net. Their abuse goes unreported and they are not provided with the support they need. The sad reality is that sexual predators come from all backgrounds and tend to target those closest to them."
"While we must be careful not to provide a false perception that grooming is restricted to Asian communities, cases involving Asian offenders must not be swept under the carpet either. Communities under the spotlight must accept they too have networks of paedophiles operating among them. Silence in the name of avoiding shame and preserving honour is so powerful that it is allowing men to continue operating with impunity and further fueling sexual violence against girls and women."
"I hope the findings act as a catalyst for others to act because there are people in every community who commit such abhorrent crimes."
Children and young people who are affected by abuse or exploitation can call Childline for advice and support 24 hours a day on Tel: 0800 1111.
Adults who need support or information, or are concerned about a child or young person should call the NSPCC helpline on Tel: 0808 800 5000.
For support following sexual violence or assault visit www.rapecrisis.org.uk or Tel: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm).
MWNUK can also be contacted on 0121 236 9000 / 07415 206936. In an emergency dial 999.
Notes to editors
1. 'Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women,' is being launched at the House of Commons on 10th September 2013 (10am to 12pm). Speakers commenting on the report will include:
2. A copy of the full report can be downloaded here from 10th September 8am http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/resourcesDetail.php?id=97
3. Shaista Gohir MBE, MWNUK Chair, Lead researcher and report author can be contacted on tel 07802 225989 / firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Other media spokespeople from Muslim Women’s Network UK are:
5. The Muslim Women's Network UK is the only national Muslim women's organisation in Britain. It is an independent network of women across the UK that shares knowledge, connects the voices, and promotes the needs of diverse Muslim women. Further information on the network can be found at: www.mwnuk.co.uk
Jess Phillips MP
MWNUK is courageous because of the uncompromising and fearless positions it sometimes takes when calling out injustice and inequality
I am proud to support and champion this fantastic organisation, which is informing policy and transforming lives.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
MWNUK’s authenticity comes from knowledge of lived experiences of Muslim women and girls acquired through their helpline, research and members.
Naz Shah MP
They work tirelessly with passion and commitment to make a difference and improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable women and girls in society.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimiu
Lawyer, Political & Women's Rights Activist
There is no greater time than now for the voices, representation and power of Muslim women to be visible in the feminist movement and all walks of life. MWNUK is a vital force in delivering this much needed balance and representation.