Brave sex trade victim, 14, praised
A children's charity has praised the bravery of a 14-year-old girl who helped convict nine men after she was sexually exploited.
The vulnerable teenager was targeted with vodka and cigarettes when she was spotted wandering the streets and then made to have sex with a string of Asian men before she was forced into prostitution, Greater Manchester Police said.
The child went missing from home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on two occasions in February 2008 before she told officers she had been sexually exploited.
Over the following weeks the girl was spoken to by a specialist team of officers, police said. She was able to identify the places she was taken and the men who had abused her.
Penny Nicholls, from The Children's Society, said: "This is a heartbreaking story, but sadly this is not an isolated case. The lack of support services and the decreasing number of refuge beds only adds to the number of vulnerable children wandering the streets alone.
"As this case clearly demonstrates, they can find themselves being targeted and sexually exploited, forced into prostitution and crime. Local authorities need to do more to help provide support for these vulnerable runaways."
Aftab Khan, 31, of, Fallowfield, pleaded guilty to one count of controlling a child prostitute and one count of sexual activity with a child. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. This was later reduced to seven years on appeal.
Abid Khaliq, 30, of Stretford, was sentenced to eight months in prison after admitting perverting the course of justice and Ahmed Noorzai, 29, of Hulme, was sentenced to four years in prison after he was found guilty of paying for the sexual services of a child.
Mohammed Anwar Safi, 31, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 31 months in prison after admitting paying for the sexual services of a child. Mohammed Khan, 26, of Hulme, was sentenced to four years in prison after he was found guilty of facilitating child prostitution.
Najibullah Safi, 32, of West Gorton, was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting to sexual activity with a child, as were Rochdale men Asad Yousaf Hassan, 28, Mohammed Basharat, 28, and Mohammed Atif, 29.