Mr Loughton said there was no evidence that any ethnic communities condoned child sex abuse, but he warned that some had been slow to report it to police. He urged anyone aware of abuse within their communities to come forward with evidence.
He cited high-profile cases in Derby and Rochdale, where gangs of men from Pakistani backgrounds were jailed for grooming and abusing young girls. Abuse of this kind has been happening “under the radar” for many years, but the problem is only now coming to the fore, with further court cases expected soon, he said.
Yesterday Mr Loughton gave evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee about new measures being launched by the Government to protect young people, including children in care, from sexual predators.
Asked if there was evidence of ethnicity being a factor in child exploitation, he replied: “Yes, and it is no good pretending otherwise.
“If there is some form of political correctness around ethnicity which is getting in the way of police and other agencies investigating, tracking down and nailing these perpetrators, then that needs to be removed and we need to do something about it.”
Mr Loughton said the majority of child sex offenders in jail were white middle-aged men but he added that in high-profile cases in Derby and Rochdale there is a problem around, in most cases, British Pakistani men.
In other parts of the country, abuse involved communities from central Africa, he added.
Mr Loughton said gangs from particular ethnic minorities had been preying on vulnerable teenage girls for many years. “This isn’t just some new phenomenon,” he told the cross-party committee.