9 men to be sentenced in UK sex ring case
LONDON (AP) — A judge in northwest England is set to sentence nine men for luring girls as young as 13 years old into sexual encounters using alcohol and drugs — a case that has stirred racial tensions and sparked claims that authorities are failing to protect vulnerable children in state care.
Because all the defendants were of Pakistani or Afghan descent, and all the victims white, the case has been seized upon by far-right groups, who protested outside the trial in Liverpool.
More measured voices have pointed out that the majority of sex crimes in Britain are committed by white men. But some say there is a specific problem in northern English communities, where a toxic combination of alienated men — from countries such as Pakistan and India — and vulnerable, unsupervised girls has allowed exploitation to flourish.
Twenty-six men were arrested in the investigation, which identified 47 potential victims. Eleven men were charged and nine convicted of charges including rape, assault, sex trafficking and conspiracy.
The men, aged between 22 and 59, will be sentenced Wednesday by Judge Gerald Clifton at Liverpool Crown Court.
Martin Narey, former chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's, said men of South Asian descent were "overwhelmingly represented in prosecutions" for sexual exploitation offenses in some northern English towns such as Rochdale, 170 miles (275 kilometers) from London.
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