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Page last updated at 07:54 GMT, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 08:54 UK

Is race an issue in sexual exploitation?

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Nine Asian men have been convicted of grooming young girls for sex and raping them, but is race an issue in sexual exploitation crimes?

Martin Narey, the former chief executive of Barnardo's, told the Today programme that sex offenders are overwhelmingly white but for this particular sort of crime - the street grooming and trafficking of girls in northern towns - Asians are "overwhelmingly represented" in prosecutions.

But Labour MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz, said that it was quite wrong to stigmatise a whole community.

"I do not believe it's a race issue," he said.

Mr Vaz believes there is a need for a "proper far-reaching investigation" into the reasons behind these crimes. "We shouldn't be afraid to discuss it but those who do need evidence", he said.


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