A 16-year-old girl said to associate with criminals feared to be involved in sex trafficking should be placed into secure accommodation for her own protection, a family court judge has ruled.
Social services bosses from North Tyneside Council asked Judge Jeremy Freedman to rule that the teenager - who is in local authority care - should go into a secure unit at a family court hearing in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Lawyers for the council said social workers had long been involved with the girl.
They said she had been absconding from a residential home and associating with criminals who might be involved in sex abuse and sex trafficking.
The girl told the judge that she did not want to go into a secure unit and did not understand why the council wanted her to.
But the judge concluded that it would be in the youngster's best interests to place her in a secure unit for three months.
Detail of the case has emerged in a ruling by Judge Freedman.
He said the girl could not be identified.