LONDON – A London jury on Tuesday convicted seven men in a ring that abused underage girls who were plied with alcohol and drugs before being forced to commit sex acts.
The guilty verdict followed five months of testimony indicating the gang exploited girls between 2004-2012 in the Oxford area, some 60 miles northwest of London. Charges include rape, trafficking and child prostitution.
The case follows several other high-profile cases of sex rings that took advantage of underage girls, some as young as 11.
Chief prosecutor Baljit Ubhey said the girls were subjected to "truly appalling" abuse by a network of perpetrators.
"No one, let alone a child, should ever be exploited as these young victims were," she said, adding that the men who have been convicted have "still failed to accept any responsibility" for their actions.
Prosecutors said seven of the men on trial were of Pakistani descent and two had family roots in North Africa. Other recent high profile cases, including one in Rochdale that involved a similar sex ring, have also involved Pakistani men convicted of abusing young white girls, in some cases sparking ethnic tensions and protests.
This case was slightly different in that it involved many instances of child prostitution. The girls were taken to various parts of Britain and forced to have sex with men who paid the convicted men for access to the girls.
The men convicted include Akhtar Dogar, 32, who was convicted of five counts of rape and other charges and his brother Anjum, 31, who was convicted of three counts of rape and other charges.
Another set of brothers, Mohammed Karrar, 38, and his brother, Bassam, 33, were also convicted of rape involving a child under 13 and other charges, including facilitating child prostitution.
Kamar Jamil, 27, was convicted of multiple rape charges and other crimes; Assad Hussain 32, was convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child; and Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, was also convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Two men were cleared of sex abuses charges Tuesday. Those found guilty will be kept in custody until they are sentenced next month.