Aylesbury’s Asian community has been shocked by the trial, according to former mayor Niknam Hussain.
The men found guilty are known to many people in the town, and are thought to have gone to Friday prayers at Aylesbury Mosque in Havelock Street.
But Lib Dem, Mr Hussain, former shadow cabinet member for children’s services at Bucks County Council, said that while there was work to be done with the community, child sexual exploitation happens across all cultures.
He said: “There are two factors here. I fully accept that the Aylesbury community has an issue that it has to face. As a father I can’t even imagine how I would feel if this happened to my children.
“But what I’m really against is this being described as a uniquely Asian issue.
“I think the county council has lessons to learn and they have been up-front and honest about that.
“I also think the police have changed the way they work too. I don’t want to make politics out of this horrible case, but the council do have a case to answer about their year on year budget cuts to children’s services, this was even happening before austerity.”
And speaking about how the town’s Asian community has reacted to the case, Mr Hussain said: “The community is very shocked, I personally am very shocked but one thing we are all focussing on is that if someone is doing something like this, they deserve to be caught and they deserve to be punished.”
Mr Hussain also said sermons on the subject have been given at Aylesbury’s Mosque and Islamic Centre.
And the Barnardo’s charity also echoed Mr Hussain’s view that abuse can take place within any community.
Michelle Kukielka, assistant director of Barnardo’s in Buckinghamshire, said: “There are communities in the UK where sexual exploitation has taken place which should clearly be looking very closely at what more they could be doing to protect vulnerable children.
“However, the reality is that there are many different types and models of sexual exploitation. The shocking truth is that men and women from all cultural groups are sexually exploiting children of different backgrounds in their thousands.”
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation In Gangs and Group found that of the data available to them, 27% of CSE perpetrators nationwide were white, 21% Asian, 11% black and 14% undisclosed.
The report also states ‘that 28% of victims reported to the Inquiry were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds’. This includes 5% Asian and 13% black.
The report adds: “This information is significant, given that the general perception appears to be that sexual exploitation by gangs and groups is primarily a crime against White children. It is critical to note that all children are potentially at risk.
The two victims in this case are white. Victim A told the court that she had had sex with 60 ‘mostly Asian’ men.