A girl who was abducted at the age of 14 and forced to work as a sex slave was yesterday praised for giving evidence which saw her abusers jailed.
The privately-educated teenager was picked up and plied with vodka and drugs, passed around groups of older men for sex and then forced to work as a prostitute.
Her ordeal highlights previously-aired fears that white schoolgirls are being groomed for underage sex by gangs of Asian men in northern England.
Former Labour MP Ann Cryer provoked a storm when she warned that the practice of arranged marriages helped tempt a criminal minority of Asian men into targeting young, white girls for sex.
After nine men were jailed over the sustained sexual abuse of their victim, Superintendent Paul Savill of Greater Manchester Police commended her bravery and said: ‘This young girl has been through an absolutely horrifying ordeal.
‘The level of abuse she has suffered is almost beyond belief. She has been treated like a commodity–beaten, threatened and sexually exploited.’
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was adopted as a baby by a professional, middle-class couple in Greater Manchester and educated at a private school.
She was removed from the school for exhibiting ‘inappropriate sexualised behaviour toward male pupils’, a court heard, and after she twice ran away from home her adoptive parents reluctantly agreed that she be placed in care.
In February 2008 she was picked up in Rochdale by Asad Hassan, 27, who took her to a nightclub.
He and his friends Mohammed Basharat, 27, and Mohammed Atif, 28, then took her to a house where she was given vodka before all three men had sex with her.
The next morning, Hassan, who had given her his phone number, dropped her at a bus station and gave her cigarettes and money, but after being found by her mother she was taken back to the care home.
A week later she went missing again. She met restaurant worker Abdul Rob, 33, in Rochdale and he took her back to a flat where he gave her alcohol before having sex with her.
The following morning she rang Hassan–her initial abuser–and met him, Basharat and Atif who again all had sex with her.
She was then taken to another house in the Rochdale area where she was also abused by a group of men whom police have been unable to trace.
The next day, as police hunted for her, the girl took a bus to Manchester and drifted to the city’s ‘Curry Mile’ in Rusholme, where she met Aftab Khan, 30, described by police as a ‘nasty, exploitative individual’.
Khan, who was acquitted two years ago of having sex with an underage girl, lured her back to his house, gave her alcohol, cocaine and cannabis and offered her a bed for the night.
But between 3am and 4am Khan woke the youngster and told her: ‘You’re working for me now.’
He stabbed a door with a kitchen knife and threatened to harm her unless she complied.
Khan then forced her to work for five nights as a prostitute in Manchester.
The girl drank huge amounts of alcohol to blot out her ordeal and even tried to avoid wearing makeup to make herself look too young for sex, but her ploy failed.
On February 28 last year plain-clothed police officers patrolling the area stopped and questioned the girl as she looked for clients but, fearing Khan, she gave a false name and said she was 16.
The officers took the girl to a bus station so that she could go home. But she returned to Khan, who began to ‘tout her round’ groups of men, boasting that he had a girl who was available for sex.
He took her to a block of flats in Hulme where Mohammed Anwar Safi, 30, Ahmed Noorzai, 28, and Mohammed Khan, 25, were waiting.
Safi and Noorzai had sex with her but Mohammed Khan, who paid the money, said he thought she was ‘too young’.
The following day the officers who had stopped the girl recognised her from a missing person appeal and suspected that Khan was holding her.
But by the time they got to his home, he had been tipped off and had sent the girl away with £5.
She returned to Rusholme where she met Najibullah Safi, 32, who plied her with drink and drugs before having sex with her.
Her ordeal finally ended when she left Safi’s house and approached an Asian couple in a car.
Safi tried to drag her away but the woman passenger heard the girl claim she had been raped, and police were called.
In total she is thought to have fallen victim to at least three predatory gangs.
Campaigners say many similar cases go unpunished because the victims refuse to make formal complaints.
However the 14-year-old bravely identified her abusers and gave compelling evidence against them in court, and now nine have been jailed for a variety of offences.
Aftab Khan was jailed for seven years and his friend Abid Khaliq for eight months; Najibullah Safi, Atif, Hassan and Basharat for two years; Mohammed Khan for four years; Mohammed Anwar Safi for 31 months and Noorzai for four years.
In the final case at Manchester Crown Court this week, a judge ordered Rob to be found not guilty after accepting he could reasonably have believed the girl’s claims to be over 16.
Yesterday the victim, now 17, condemned her abusers.
‘These people exploit young girls,’ she said.
‘They feed them drugs and alcohol and tell them they love them.
‘I know because it happened to me and it has changed my life enormously.’
Martin Narey of Barnardo’s said his charity worked with at least 1,000 vulnerable girls a year who had been preyed on in this way.
But he said said there was no evidence of a racial element to such abuse.
‘Those who exploit children in this awful way come from all races,’ he added.
The predators who were jailed: Top row, from left: Asad Hassan, Mohammed Basharat, Mohammed Khan. Middle row: Ahmed Noorzai, Mohammed Anwar Safi, Aftab Khan. Bottom row: Abid Khaliq, Mohammed Atif, Najibullah Safi.
MP Who Drew Link With Asian Culture . . . And Provoked a Storm
When Labour MP Ann Cryer blamed traditional Asian culture for a ‘sex ring’ dragging white schoolgirls into prostitution, her comments provoked a fierce debate.
She spoke out in 2003 over claims of organised sexual abuse in her West Yorkshire constituency of Keighley, controversially suggesting the problem had to be seen in racial terms.
‘I am merely pointing out fact in saying that all the victims of these terrible crimes are white girls and all the alleged perpetrators are Asian men,’ she said.
‘That is a significant fact and needs to be addressed.’
In her view, young Asian men in traditional communities were unable to pursue casual relationships in the manner of their white peers because they were tied to arranged marriages.
Caught between two cultures, a small number were tempted to target vulnerable young girls, she said.
She was criticised by Muslim community activists, and a subsequent Channel 4 documentary focusing on the problem was pulled amid fears that it would hand political ammunition to the BNP.
Nevertheless mothers in areas with large Asian populations have continued to complain that the authorities have failed to tackle similar abuse.
Last year three Asian men from Keighley were jailed for grooming a vulnerable 14-year-old girl for sex.
Yesterday Mrs Cryer, who stepped down at the last election, said she believed the case had deterred others from perpetrating similar abuse.
She added: ‘There are similarities with the case in Greater Manchester, and I very much hope that the same problem does not happen there as well.’