Britain is wrestling with a volatile nexus of crime, race and religion, after 18 people were convicted of sexually abusing women and girls as young as 15.

One woman and 17 men were convicted of, or admitted, to charges including rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution in a series of trials that ended this week at Newcastle Crown Court in northeast England.

The crimes follow a pattern that has become grimly familiar from cases across Britain in the last few years. The convicted men mostly come from South Asian Muslim backgrounds. Their victims — who were plied with drugs and alcohol before being abused at parties, in taxis or in back rooms — are mostly white.

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