The sentencing of Asian sex groomers in Oxford yesterday is important. It nails the fate of anyone who thinks there can be any justification for treating girls like dehumanised tradable commodities.
Not only does it expose the shocking reality of sex grooming, but it also shines a now inextinguishable light on human trafficking of any sort. And there is a shocking incidence of this phenomenon going on under our noses.
So, what do we do about it?
This is a human problem, a male problem, a predominantly white problem. But, it always has a culture-specific manifestation to it. The evidence is clear: most online grooming is by white males, most street grooming is by Asian males. (The reasons for this might be obvious, given who runs the nighttime economy in many cities.) And where it is an Asian problem, what do we want to see happen?
Well, we must applaud the initiative of Alyas Karmani who got around 500 imams to read a sermon today in their mosques in which this behaviour is condemned unequivocally. Following on from initiatives such as CAASE (which was launched in Bradford several weeks ago), this represents a community taking responsibility.
Of course, it begs the question why Asian Muslims have to take this responsibility when white Christians do not feel the same obligation when the ‘white’ grooming phenomenon hits the headlines.
What was done today forms part of a mosaic of responsible initiatives that together will build into something wider and stronger. Whatever else happens, grooming will not be tolerated even when ethnic, religious or community bonds are threatened by its exposure.
This has to be a good thing.