Leicester Crown Court heard how the “vulnerable and damaged” British Sikh girl had been used as a “sexual commodity”.
While 25-year-old Bharat Modhwadia was jailed for 16 months for paying for the sexual services of a child, inciting child pornography, and trafficking the girl by driving her to a location for sex, 37-year-old Chandresh Mistry was jailed for eight months for attempting to pay for the sexual services of a child.
Mistry had used Facebook to arrange to have sex with the girl, but they did not have sex because he became aware of the police investigation.
The other four men, whose ages range from 20 to 39, were jailed for between eight months and five years.
“While it is fair to say that none of the defendants played any part in her decision to prostitute herself, it is equally true to say that anyone meeting her would immediately have realised that this was a vulnerable 16-year-old girl from a good Sikh family, who was embarking upon a disastrous course of action,” Judge Michael Pert said in his judgement yesterday.
He, however, acknowledged that Modhwadia had initially advised the girl not to have sex for money, but this did not ultimately stop him from “taking advantage of her”.
The girl, now 17, had been drinking alcohol to excess, smoking cannabis and self-harming, and said she needed to make money as her parents had threatened to throw her out.
She told the police that boys at college had paid her for sex before she met the men, who are all from Leicester.
Some of the defendants claimed they did not know it was illegal to pay a girl under 18 for sex, but Judge Pert said their conduct was “morally reprehensible” regardless.
“She was, and is, articulate and attractive, but for reasons wholly unconnected to these defendants she was very vulnerable,” the judge said.
“She had been brought up in a traditional, if not conservative Sikh family and was, according to her, extremely unhappy.
“Any man with an ounce of decency would have tried to help her, not treated her as a sexual commodity, which is what each of you did.”
Between November last year and January this year the men had sex with her at various locations across Leicester.
Three of the accused had pleaded guilty at their first appearance at Leicester Crown Court and the other pleaded guilty mid-way through a trial.