"The case has provoked strong criticism about why the police, social services and local authorities failed to stop the abuse sooner. Was it because the girls were considered 'problem children' and so less credible, less worthy of help? "

-- Katie Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation Correspondent

Every week, our correspondents offer distilled insight on pressing issues. Two-Minute Talking Points bring you concise commentary from the frontlines of humanitarian crises, climate change, corruption and human rights.

Transcript:

Every week, our correspondents offer distilled insight on pressing issues. Two-Minute Talking Points bring you concise commentary from the frontlines of humanitarian crises, climate change, corruption and human rights.

A man befriends a young girl from a broken home. He showers her with gifts and attention, and makes her believe he loves her - before prostituting her to other men in the UK.

The young girl has been groomed so well she doesn't even realise she's being exploited.

It's hard to imagine such cruel manipulation.

Yet many cases have come to light in recent years - of groups of men who prey on especially vulnerable girls for the sole purpose of sexual exploitation.

The latest high profile case in Britain ended last week with prison sentences for seven men who raped and trafficked girls as young as 11.

The abuse, which continued for the better part of a decade, was particularly sadistic.

The court heard how the victims would be fed drugs and alcohol to make it easier to control them; how they were tied up, beaten, burnt, suffocated and urinated on.

One girl was told that the men would cut her head off if she did not perform oral sex on them all.

Another survivor said she was tortured sexually and at the age of 12 was forced to have a backstreet abortion by her abuser.

The case has provoked strong criticism about why the police, social services and local authorities failed to stop the abuse sooner.

Was it because the girls were considered 'problem children' and so less credible, less worthy of help?

It has also raised concerns about a judicial system that allows a victim of abuse to be cross-examined by multiple defence lawyers - each of them accusing her of lying.

Finally, the case has prompted some soul searching about the impact the sexualisation of girls is having on our society, and how we can better educate them about healthy relationships - so that more girls are protected.

More on: trust.org

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