A FORMER Oldham councillor has embarked on a mission to encourage “hundreds of victims” of child sex exploitation in the town’s Asian community to come forward and seek help.

Kaiser Rehman’s campaign follows the launch of two investigations - one by the town hall, the other by Greater Manchester Police - into allegations circulating on social media over claims of sexual grooming and child sexual abuse dating back to 2013.

Backing the Keeping Our Girls Safe charity, Mr Rehman collaborated with Stockport MP Ann Coffey in an independent investigation into child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester in 2014, in the wake of the Rochdale grooming scandal.

But Mr Rehman was suspended from the Labour Party in December following an internal legal wrangle and stood as an independent in his ward Medlock Vale. He polled 992 votes, beaten by Labour’s Mohammed Alyas, who got 1,346.

Now, the 33-year-old property developer has told The Oldham Times he is determined to shine a light on the issue of child sex exploitation, particularly in the Pakistani/Kashmiri culture, from which he originates, and do as much as possible to removed the stigma of being a victim.

The former Oldham Hulme Grammar School pupil said: “There are to this day, very powerful people who do not allow abused victims to forward.

“For too long, abuse remains hidden for young men (who are victims).

“Such ‘dishonour’ would have led a young person who accused an older perpetrator of being ridiculed and shamed.

“Such shame could make an otherwise eligible bachelor become ineligible. You see the same happening to divorced women who have been victims of abuse. They have been shamed also.

“There are still those who pedal the honour-based narrative who still are gatekeepers to the community.”

He said he had been told by others in his community he was “crazy” and “not fit for public office” for exposing one suspected instance of child sex exploitation.

Mr Rehman went on: “Powerful people in the community said these things. However, such comments didn’t affect me as I was on the side of the victims.

“I want them to come forward, I want them to have their say. I want to support them and I want perpetrators brought to justice.

“I can say for sure there are hundreds of cases of abuse in my community that have not seen the light of day because of a shame and honour-based culture. I want to end it.”