LONDON — Nine men in northwest England were sentenced to jail terms Wednesday 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.
Judge Gerald Clifton said the men, aged between 22 and 59 and all of Pakistani or Afghan origin, were driven by “lust and greed,” and sentenced them for crimes including trafficking and rape. The 59-year-old ringleader of the group received 19 years in jail, while his co-accused received between four and 12 years.
Because all the defendants were South Asian — from countries such as Pakistan and India — and all the victims white, the case has been seized upon by far-right groups, who protested outside the trial in Liverpool.
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