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Old 05-02-2012, 11:00 PM   #11
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Arrow Investigating Britain's 'sex gangs'

Vicious pattern

On-street grooming follows a pattern. Girls aged between 11 and 14 are most vulnerable and are often targeted by someone close to their own age, sometimes a younger brother or friend of the older men.

The location is usually innocuous – school gates, shopping centers, arcades. It can start with a car pulling up, young guys with charm and good looks engaging a girl in banter. Then cell phone numbers are exchanged and a friendship begins.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, a leading politician of Pakistani descent, and many other members of the British-Pakistani community, have condemned the crimes and emphasized that an entire ethnic group should not be criticized for the actions of a few. “We have to find a way where we don’t associate the entire [Pakistani] community [with this], we have to put it into context,” Ahmed said.

The men then work for several months to make the girls believe the friendship is genuine, the relationship meaningful.

“They are investing time and money in girls they target,” said Cat Tatman from Crop, a charity that supports the parents of sexually exploited children.

Once the girls have been won over the exploitation can really begin, she said.

The venues for the next stage vary. Sometimes the girls and their new acquaintances meet in parks and parking lots, often in cheap apartments and hotels – places known in gang circles as “party houses” where the girls are invited to come to “chill."

“It seems like a fun place to go,” Tatman said. “But there is very little of a party going on; often you are the only girl and it’s all men there.”

“Basically, you are the party,” she said.

Chloe, another former victim, met her attackers when she was just 12. The boys she befriended first were just a couple of years older.

Over several months she was introduced to an ever-growing group of men in northern England, many of them older. As a young schoolgirl she enjoyed hanging around cool, older guys with cars and fun places to go, and accepted the gifts of alcohol and cigarettes they offered her.

After a year, one of the men turned on her.

“He got me on the floor and was ripping my clothes off. There was a man holding my feet, a man holding my arms and trying to put his penis in my mouth,” Chloe said. “He was on top of me raping me and other men were stood watching and laughing.”

This was the first of many such horrific incidents for Chloe. Over the coming months she was raped and sexually assaulted by groups of men almost daily after school in parks, cars, apartments and public alleyways. When she refused to go and meet them, they threatened to gang-rape her mother. On one occasion when Chloe decided not to comply, she said her attackers raped her anally to teach her a lesson.

Last edited by lightgiver; 05-02-2012 at 11:07 PM.
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