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Gang jailed for teens sex abuse

Gangs of Somali men have been convicted of running an inner city sex ring that involved the abuse, rape and prostitution of teenage British girls, it can be reported for the first time.

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and trafficked across Bristol to be passed around the men's friends for money.

Many of the girls were groomed to view the abuse as a normal part of being the "girlfriend" of a Somali man, as it was "culture and tradition" to be raped by their "boyfriend's" friends.

One defendant, an aspiring boxer, forced a victim to be raped by his younger brother in a bid to save him from going to hell as he "wanted to turn gay".

On another occasion, the 13-year-old girl was raped four times by three different men, having been trafficked across Bristol to a Premier Inn by one of her abusers.

Police officers investigating the case rescued one victim from a cupboard in a flat, where she was found weeping "they made me do stuff", clad only in her underwear.

The case, now the subject of serious case reviews, follows similar exploitation of young girls across English towns and cities such as Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.

Avon and Somerset Police uncovered the two-year abuse against 10 girls during their investigation into the men, all of Somali heritage, codenamed Operation Brooke.

A total of 14 were convicted of charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.

Eight were jailed for between 18 months and 13 years following the first of two trials at Bristol Crown Court this summer.

A further seven defendants - including one who appeared in both trials - were convicted yesterday and will be sentenced by Judge Julian Lambert tomorrow.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Gary Stephens, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "These offenders took advantage of vulnerable young girls and exploited them for their own benefit.

"The crimes outlined in the first trial were interwoven with the offenders' desire to sell class A drugs in the community.

"In the second trial, the focus was more on the predatory and calculated nature of the offenders in identifying the most vulnerable victims to abuse."

DI Stephens said the victims came from "very diverse and cosmopolitan" backgrounds and warned such abuse could happen to any child.

Police have nine other investigations into child sexual exploitation in the Avon and Somerset force area, with officers following up leads from Operation Brooke inquiries.

The first trial featured a group of drug dealers based in the Stapleton Road area of Easton in Bristol and their exploitation of primarily one teenage girl.

She had been placed in a flat on her own in the city and left almost unsupervised by social workers from outside Bristol.

Liban Abdi, 21, Mustapha Farah, 21, Arafat Osman, 20, Idleh Osman, 22, Abdulahi Aden, 20, Said Zakaria, 22, Mustafa Deria, 22, and Deria's cousin Mohamed Jama, 20, were jailed for either child sexual exploitation or drugs offences.

The second trial focused on another group of young Somali men - including Zakaria - and their grooming and sexual abuse of young girls in the city.

Mohamed Jumale, 24, Mohamed Dahir, 22, Zakaria, Jusuf Abdirazak, 20, Omar Jumale, 20, Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21 and Sakariah Sheik, 21, were all convicted of child sexual exploitation offences.

A jury was told the men used the girls for sex, with offences taking place in front of other people in the group.

"Much of it is sordid, none of it is romantic," Anna Vigars, prosecuting, said.

Transcripts of a police interview with Zakaria, who raped a 13-year-old girl twice in one night in a Premier Inn hotel room, were read to the court.

Zakaria told officers the girls who were trafficked to the hotel reported the abuse after he told them to "hit the road".

"They're both slags innit, they're both dirty slags, they got used and abused and now they're saying rah, rah, rah, whose making them do anything they don't want to do?" he said.

"Everyone knows what they're there for innit, they come there to suck d*** and then f*** off, that's what they come for."

Zakaria and the other six defendants in the second trial will be sentenced tomorrow.

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