London, Nov 27 (ANI): In what is believed to be the biggest case of serial sex abuse ever uncovered in Britain, nine men, all Asians except one, have been jailed for grooming up to 100 young girls to become their sex slaves.
The gang roamed the Derby streets in a BMW with blacked-out windows looking for girls, and when they come across unsuspecting victims, they would sweet-talk them into joining them for a ride.
The girls, who all come from decent families and are in their teens or younger, are then plied with vodka from bottles and plastic cups hidden under the seats before they are raped or abused.
The men would be smartly dressed and they would wait outside school gates, shops, coffee bars near the city's railway station and a local park to lure girls into their car.
Over weeks and months, the girls were taken to houses in Derby and other towns before being raped by the gang and their friends, some of whom paid the men in cash.
In rundown flats with mattresses on the floor, the girls were locked into rooms and turned into sex slaves.
If they protested or refused, they were threatened with being beaten with a hammer and even told they would be shot. The depraved sex acts were filmed on mobile phones and may have now been sold on through Internet pornography sites.
A 16-year old girl, who was raped by the gang, revealed how she met them and the ordeal she went through later.
"They would take you out, buy you ice creams and a lovely, nice meal. There's a part of you who thinks it's really exciting: 'I have met this lovely man'," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying.
"You feel like they're going to keep you safe. They then abuse every part of you," she revealed.
Many schoolgirls, one just eight, living in towns and cities all over the north of England are falling prey to gangs who groom them to be sex slaves for themselves or other men.
This case came just weeks after a privately-educated schoolgirl, forced into sex slavery at 14, bravely gave evidence in court against nine Asian men, who were jailed for her "sustained sexual abuse" over many months.
The girl had been picked up by the gang while walking through Rochdale, Greater Manchester. They took her to a nightclub, gave her vodka, and then drove her to a private house where three men had sex with her.
For 11 days, missing from home, she was passed around "like a piece of meat" from man to man before finally managing to escape.
The two 28-year-old gang leaders, Abid Saddique and Mohammed Liaqat, both married fathers, face years behind bars after being found guilty of sexual abuse over an 18-month period.
"We were really shocked with the scale and extent of what we'd uncovered, but this is a very hidden crime," Detective Superintendent Debbie Platt of Derbyshire Police said.
In almost all the cases reported, the perpetrators are almost all Asian and from the north of England - and their victims white.
"The truth is, most men running the gangs in the north of England are Asians of Pakistani origin. But very few of the authorities will say this," Emma, a 21-year-old who eight years ago became a sex slave in another northern town and now counsels other victims, stated.
Members of the Muslim community have come forward to condemn the acts and to say that these men have committed a crime and should be punished.
"I think the police are overcautious because they are afraid of being branded racist," Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Lancashire-based Ramadhan Foundation, a charity working for peaceful harmony between different communities, said.
"These men are criminals and should be treated as criminals - whatever their race," he stated.
In Derby, Shokat Lal, chairman of the city's Pakistani Community Centre in the Normanton area, where many of the girls were taken to seedy flats and then sexually attacked by the gang, spoke out, too.
"It is important that political correctness or fear of offending any particular group of people does not get in the way of protecting those who are vulnerable," he said.
"This is not an issue of race or religion, but about right and wrong, and people committing criminal acts.
"Vulnerable girls are being exploited for sex. We must stand together as one, people of all backgrounds, to denounce these vile acts," he added. (ANI)