UK 'Failing To Combat' Child Sex Grooming

Police, social services and charities are failing to properly investigate the "hidden issue" of child sex grooming, a report is expected to say.

Plans to stop the grooming of children for sex in the UK are due to be unveiled, following a national six month inquiry by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre.

The agency will reveal the results of its probe into the problem along with recommendations for the future.

It is expected to say that while more than 2,000 young victims of grooming have been identified since January 2008, the problem remains a "hidden issue".

Experts say the problem is often seriously underestimated by police, social services and charities.

The investigation was launched by Ceop chief executive Peter Davies after former home secretary Jack Straw said some Pakistani men in Britain saw white girls as "easy meat" for sexual abuse.

Reports say the inquiry found that while one in five perpetrators of grooming were of Asian origin, the problem cannot be pinned on a particular ethnic group.

Speaking at the time of Mr Straw's comments, Mr Davies said: "Child sexual exploitation is not exclusive to any single culture, community, race or religion - it cuts across all communities.

"Neither can it be simplified along ethnic lines where the victims constitute one ethnicity and offenders another.

"We need to continue to build our understanding about the different types of threats faced by children across a range of environments."

Children who go missing or run away were found to be particularly vulnerable to grooming.

In January, Mr Straw said child sex grooming was a "specific problem" in the Pakistani community which needed to be "more open" about the reasons behind it.

He spoke out after the ringleaders of a gang which subjected a string of vulnerable girls to rapes and sexual assaults were jailed indefinitely.

Children's charities, a Muslim youth group and a retired detective chief superintendent all said Mr Straw was wrong to highlight one community.