A group of men who groomed vulnerable girls as young as 13 and exploited them for sex will be sentenced today.
The offending of taxi driver Shakil Munir and teenagers Sakib Ahmed and his friend Ateeq Latif in Middlesbrough led one senior detective to say the "worrying trend" of Asian males using girls for sex needed to be addressed.
Munir, 32, picked up one 14-year-old in his cab and had sex with her in a lay-by. The same week he took a 13-year-old to a "chill pad" for sex, Teesside Crown Court heard.
A total of six Teesside girls were victims of child sexual exploitation, a jury found.
On the eve of the trial, Ahmed, 19, admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child, which related to five under-age victims.
He would take girls out for a drive and then pressure them into giving him oral sex or full intercourse.
His friend Latif, 17, was convicted of two counts of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
He helped Ahmed by going along with him on drives, then taking one girl away for a walk to leave his friend alone in the car with a young victim.
Two co-accused teenagers were cleared of all charges.
Munir sent one of his victims hundreds of messages on Facebook after he befriended her one night. Many of the messages they exchanged were explicit.
Her mother said the ordeal led the teenager to "go off the rails" and her education suffered as she was teased at school, with pupils shouting "taxi" at her.
Munir was convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child and one of abduction - relating to driving off with the 14-year-old.
Ahmed used BlackBerry messaging to contact his victims, manipulating the girls into thinking he liked them, then pressuring them for sex.
Munir, of Tollesby Road, Latif, of Abingdon Road, and Ahmed, of Cambridge Road, all Middlesbrough, will be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.
After the trial in December, Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Best said analysis showed white males were the worst offenders when it came to sexual exploitation of children.
Mr Best said: "Child sexual exploitation is not a crime that is committed by one ethnic minority group.
"We have done some analysis locally and nationally and it's fair to say the biggest offending group when it comes to child sexual exploitation is white males.
"However with the high profile cases that there have been nationally, there also does appear to be a worrying trend in relation to the number of cases involving Asian males and that needs to be addressed.
"We shouldn't be afraid to say that.
"All communities, I am hoping, will come together to recognise this is a problem.
"It is all our jobs, as adults, to protect children."