Police in England
English police officers, pictured ay 15, 2014, come under fire for paying a convicted child abuser to help shutdown a Newcastle child sex ring. Getty Images

A British lawmaker claimed Thursday that "people are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse," according to a BBC interview.

Sarah Champion, the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, made her comments after 18 people were found guilty of abusing girls in Newcastle. The victims were required to consume alcohol and drugs before the convicted men forcibly engaged in sexual relations with the girls. Most of the convicted participants were of Asian descent.

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During her appearance on BBC’s Radio 4 Today, Champion, a Labour Party Member of Parliament for Rotherham, claimed that it's important to recognize that British Pakistani men were primarily found guilty of crimes in other towns similar to Newcastle.

"It just pains me that this is going on time and time and time again and the Government aren’t researching what is going on," Champion said.

"We have got now, hundreds of Pakistani men who have been convicted of this crime, why are we not commissioning research to see what is going on and how we need to change what is going on."

Champion added that she anticipates backlash for her comments from the far-right and the "floppy" left. However, she claims that her argument "isn’t racist, this is child protection."

Northumbria Police reportedly paid a convicted child rapist nearly £10,000 ($12,976) over a span of 21 months to gather evidence on Newcastle sex abusers, according to the Guardian.

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The spy, referred to as XY, was required to alert law enforcement to the times and locations of gatherings where young girls would be forced to consume alcohol and drugs. He helped to provide information in one of the Northumbria Police's biggest investigations to date.

During a Wednesday appearance on BBC’s Radio 4 Today, Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman defended the department's decision to pay the child abuser.

"I accept that some people will not agree with [the] position we have taken, but I have to be content, on the back of the convictions we have secured to date, that it was the right thing to do," Ashman said.

Jayne Senior, a whistleblower who fought for several years to raise awareness to a Rotherham sex ring, spoke Thursday to the Sun about the Newcastle grooming rings' ultimate demise.

"It’s happening everywhere — Rotherham’s not unique — we shone a light on it. We always knew it wasn’t just Rotherham and it’s just devastating that it’s gone on," she said.

Child sex rings remain a global problem. Reports confirmed in April that no arrests were made for the U.N. peacekeepers involved in a Haiti-based sex ring, according to the Associated Press.

In March 2011, 230 children were rescued from what was described as the "world's largest pedophile ring," stemming from an Amsterdam-based online forum with 70,000 followers. Europol, the European police agency, had arrested 184 people.

Follow me on Twitter @dory_jackson