Operation Sanctuary: Woman jailed for trafficking girls
A woman who trafficked underage girls to a drugs and grooming ring that forced young women to have sex has been jailed for six years and three months.
Carolann Gallon was one of 18 people convicted as part of Operation Sanctuary, an investigation into the sexual abuse of vulnerable girls.
The 22-year-old, of Hareside Court, Newcastle, admitted three counts of trafficking.
Another gang member, Abdulhamid Minoyee, was sentenced to 15 years.
The 34-year-old, of Gainsborough Grove, Newcastle, had been convicted of raping a woman with learning difficulties, sexual assault, and the supply of drugs.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that Gallon took girls - two of whom were in care and one who was only 13 years old - to the parties knowing they would be sexually abused.
She also took a girl with learning difficulties to a flat where she was raped by Minoyee.
The prosecution said after Gallon was arrested, she told police: "I didn't force them into having sex. They [are] not kids, they've got their own mind.
"If they're mortal [drunk] they are going to do something, why get mortal in the first place?
"It's self-inflicted, I've got no sympathy."
Gallon was aged 17 or 18 at the time of the offences, but police decided that she was an active member of the gang rather than a victim.
Judge Penny Moreland said: "You were described yourself as being a victim.
"There have been ample opportunities for you to make complaints about these matters. You have never chosen to do so."
She added that Gallon continued to "ally" herself with other defendants.
A total of 16 men and one woman have now been jailed, with one more to be sentenced on 14 September.
Victims were lured to parties, known as "sessions", at addresses around the West End of Newcastle by men who apparently befriended them.
There they were plied with alcohol or drugs - some became addicted - and forced to have sex.
During sentencing, victims' impact statements described their psychological damage, and those living close to the party addresses spoke of being "put through hell".
Speaking after sentencing, Det Supt Steve Barron, from Northumbria Police, said: "I have spoken to some of these victims and they are lovely people.
"They have had a tough life and to then go through courts is so difficult for them. It has just been brilliant to see how their bravery is now showing justice."