Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking

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Staffordshire Police - Image caption One of the victims realised they were being abused after she watched a film warning how grooming can take place without victims realising it

Four men jailed for child grooming and treating "teenage girls like trophies" have been banned from using Snapchat.

Taiyab Hussain, 19, Mohammed Hizar Rizwan, 18, Shaheem Ratyal, 19, and Sohail Raja Ali, 19, all from Burton upon Trent, pleaded guilty to various child grooming offences in February.

They were each banned from the social media app for eight years at their sentencing at Stafford Crown Court.

The victims were five girls aged from 13 to 16.

His Honour Judge Jonathan Gosling said the case was "nothing like Rochdale" and that the men were not "predatory paedophiles" but "schoolboys".

He added: "The girls meant nothing to them, they were an agency to satisfy their adolescent lust."

Judge Gosling said the men will be released after serving half their sentence, which was already reduced by 155 days.

'Brave to tell'

The court heard one of the victims realised they were being abused after she watched a film warning how grooming can take place without victims knowing it.

She felt brave enough to tell her father what she thought was happening to her. The men were subsequently arrested and further victims came forward.

The court heard how one of the victims was 14 when she met Ratyal, 17 at the time, after he delivered a pizza to her. He admitted he "really liked her" and "initiated sexual contact with her".

He forced her to perform sex acts and shared intimate pictures of her. The judge said Ratyal "convinced his victim that he loved her" and "she, in her childlike way, she thought she loved him too".

The sentences were:

  • Taiyab Hussain, 19, of Shobnall Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child, two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of possession of an indecent image of a child. He was sentenced to a total of five years in a young offenders institute.
  • Mohammed Hizar Rizwan, 18, of Derby Road, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He was sentenced to a total of four years and four months behind bars.
  • Shaheem Ratyal, 19, of Grange Street, admitted one count of sexual activity with a child and five counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He was jailed for a total of four years and four months
  • Sohail Raja Ali, 19, of Weston Park Avenue, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He was jailed for a total of four years.
  • All the men were given sexual harm prevention orders for eight years and lifetime registration on the Sex Offenders Register.

Ali first met his victim on Snapchat. She was 13 at the time and he was 18.

The 13-year-old said the sexual activity with Ali "had a massive impact on her".

The court heard Rizwan and Hussain picked up two victims in a car and forced them into performing sex acts. They did the same the next day, this time swapping girls.

A charge of collective conspiracy to abuse against the men was dropped but Judge Gosling said: "There was a joint interest in meeting and sexually abusing these young girls.

He added: "Some sexual activity was extreme. It fell short of rape. There were acts of degradation."

'Rubbish heap'

In mitigation the court heard how Hussain was "naive and immature" and as a result of the case, he has had to resign from his job.

Rizwan's lawyer told the court how his family's reputation has "been thrown on the rubbish heap" by what happened and his client apologised openly to the court and his victims.

He said Rizwan was "very immature and sexually inexperienced" at the time of the offending.

Representatives for Ali said he too has lost his job, that he "accepts full responsibility" and "only has himself to blame" for what happened.

'Terrible ordeal'

Ratyal was a talented footballer, his lawyer said, who wanted to be a teacher but now can never be.

Speaking outside of court, Sheila Taylor, chief executive of national anti-child exploitation network NWG, said: "The fact this young person has watched this film, identified herself as a victim and then resulting in people coming forward and a prosecution, is amazing."

Det Insp Simon Caton, of Staffordshire Police, said: "The reason we have seen this successful outcome is down to the bravery of the girls in this case in coming forward and having the courage to tell somebody about the terrible ordeal they have gone through."

Article from: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-43821784