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Grooming attacks 'happening everywhere'

The chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, has told the Today programme that the grooming of girls by older men is not a cultural problem.

Speaking after the former Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said that some men of Pakistani origin regard vulnerable white girls as "easy meat", following a case in Derby in which two Asian men were convicted of abusing young girls, Mr Vaz commented that "we can't ignore the facts of individual cases. But against what Jack says, is what the judge said in the Derby case.

"Don't think you can stereotype an entire community. What you can do is look at the facts, give it to an agency, make a proper investigation and see how we can deal with these networks of people who are involved in this horrendous crime."

Martin Narey, chief executive of the charity Barnardos, told the programme that the problem of grooming was much more widespread than people realised.

"If there's one good thing that will come out of the Derby case it is that people, including police services around the country, will realise that this is probably happening everywhere.

"We happen to work in 21 towns and cities in the UK where we discover it but I think it's probably happening in most towns and cities. And it preys on vulnerable, isolated young girls and sometimes boys."

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