Three jailed for forcing girls into prostitution

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The Independent Online
THREE women who forced runaway schoolgirls into prostitution were yesterday jailed for a total of 17 years at Cardiff Crown Court.

Girls as young as 14 were threatened with weapons and made to work on the streets of the Tiger Bay red-light district in Cardiff. They were later strip-searched for their earnings of up to pounds 80 a night.

Knives, metal bars, a Samurai sword and a crossbow were produced at various times to deter them from trying to escape the clutches of the vice ring.

Martin Kelly, for the prosecution, told the court: 'The girls all came from tragic backgrounds and met up on the city streets after running away from home.'

The youngest girl said she was a virgin until she was forced on to the streets by the women pimps. 'They put me on the game. I was held on the street and offered to punters. I didn't know what to do with blokes.'

Venita Bailey, 25, of Roath, Cardiff, was jailed for eight years; Christine Neville, 32, from Grangetown, Cardiff, was sentenced to six years, and Maxine Campbell, 21, of Roath, to three years, all for exercising control over prostitutes.

Bailey and Neville were also convicted of robbery and false imprisonment.

South Glamorgan county council is to establish teams of 'guardians' to prevent children being drawn into prostitution and drug use. A house in west Cardiff will also be staffed around the clock with social workers, who will offer care and advice to teenagers found wandering the city streets.