A GROOMING gang plied vulnerable young girls with booze and drugs so they could use them as “objects to abuse at will”, a court heard today.
The nine men and one woman are accused of luring the four girls into associating with older men at parties where they would be used as sexual “commodities”.
Leeds Crown Court heard the girls, aged between 12 and 16, were “easy targets for abuse” due to their “extreme vulnerability”.
The gang had deliberately targeted them, bent them to their will, abused them and passed them around other men for sexual purposes, using threats and violence when necessary, jurors were told.
Some of the alleged abuse happened in vehicles which had been driven to remote locations with the girls forced to perform sex acts on the men.
Other times, the teens would be sexually assaulted by complete strangers, who remain unidentified to this day, the court heard.
At the time of the alleged abuse the girls were “deliberately avoiding home and people in positions of authority”, Mr Wright said.
‘OBJECTS ABUSED AT WILL’
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said there was also a sense that those in authority “did not do enough to engage with these girls and find out what was happening to them”.
He added: “The girls targeted by those men were children and the men knew that and they did not care about it for a moment.
“These men cared only for themselves and viewed these girls as objects to be used and abused at will.
“You will readily understand that these vulnerable youngsters, who were also socially isolated, very rapidly found themselves drawn into a world in which they had little or no control of their lives and were unable to make truly free or informed choices about anything they did with these men.”
Jurors heard one of the girls was intelligent and close to her mum before the abuse – but had become “immersed in a very dangerous lifestyle” when she moved schools.
She started hanging out with a group of youngsters who skipped school and associated with older Asian men, it was said.
‘GIRLS FAILED BY AUTHORITIES’
Another of the four alleged victims had also been bright but “went off the rails” – with her mum “failed” by cops and social services, the jury heard.
A 42-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies one count of rape and two of trafficking for sexual exploitation, while Iftikar Ali, 38, is charged with three counts of rape and one of attempted rape.
Basharat Hussain, 32, faces two rape charges, while Manzoor Akhtar, 30, faces three counts of the same offence and one of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Female defendant, Fehreen Rafiq, 39, denies two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
Mohammed Sajjad, 32, is charged with a single count of the same offence and five of rape, one charge of which allegedly involved a girl under the age of 13.
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Meanwhile, Umar Zaman, 31, and Banaris Hussain, 36, face two and one counts of rape respectively.
Samuel Fikru, 31, is charged with two counts of rape, and Mohammed Arif, 32, faces a single charge of the same offence.
The trial, scheduled to last seven weeks, continues tomorrow.