The leader of Newcastle City Council has praised the victims of sexual abuse whose testimony helped convict 18 sex offenders.
Cllr Nick Forbes said the 22 women and girls who gave evidence in four trials at Newcastle Crown Court had been 'brave beyond belief'.
In four trials over two years 17 men and one woman, most of Asian backgrounds, were convicted of sexual exploitation and drugs offences.
The court heard how vulnerable girls and women were abused at parties or 'sessions' in Newcastle.
Newcastle City Council has worked closely with Northumbria Police since they launched an operation in early 2014 to disrupt sexual exploitation and help bring perpetrators to justice.
More than 700 victims were identified throughout the Northumbria force area and a serious case review will report in December to establish what lessons can be learned and how to improve safeguarding.
Cllr Forbes said: “These were vile crimes committed by evil men against vulnerable women and girls as young as 14.
'The victims who went to court had to relive their ordeals in giving evidence and face their perpetrators. Some have suffered the trauma of having do it more than once.
'I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that must be, but I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of them. They have been brave beyond belief and undoubtedly have made our safer city.'