Seven members of a human trafficking gang who brought Romanian women into the UK to work in brothels have been jailed for a total of 16 years.
On Wednesday 29th November 2017 warrants were executed in Lancashire, Manchester, Northampton and Luton, as part of Operation Magician - an investigation into the trafficking and sexual exploitation of a large number of Romanian women into the UK.
Six women were rescued and taken to safety and a number of items linked to the sex trade, along with cash and firearms, were seized.
A harrowing diary found at one of the properties revealed the emotional torture of one of the victims - who had come to the UK believing she was in a relationship with her captor.
In it she wrote: “I thought that the sun will eventually shine in my life but I was wrong and the mist doesn’t seem to want to go away.
“I feel sad and tired, ill and fragile. I feel like I’m suffocating. I need some help to go through this and I want strength. My arms are heavy and my legs are numb, my head aches and it gets worse when I think about all the women around him.”
Florin Rusescu, 44, and Maria Badalescu, 33, of Harcourt Street, Luton; Ionel Sandu, 33, of Carlton Road, Blackburn; Andrei Alin Carabet, 28, of Manchester Road, Preston; Catalin Mihalescu, 44, of Wadeson Road, Manchester and Valentin Poiana, 40, of Orchard Street, Manchester, pleaded pleaded guilty to conspiracy to arrange the travel of other persons for the purposes of exploitation.
Mihai Nicolescu, 33, of Freehold Street, Northampton, pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting exploitation.
Sgt Stu Peall, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team, said: “This gang were part of a large human trafficking network, which operated brothels across the UK.
“They were treated as commodities, and were traded among brothel owners without any regard for their wellbeing or human rights. When they were no longer wanted they were moved to a different location, where they were put to work in the sex trade again.
“The diary we found gives a glimpse of the suffering these women endured at the hands of this criminal gang.
“Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling exploitation of all kinds and today’s sentences are the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our officers who continue to work proactively to put an end to modern slavery.”
Mihailescu was jailed for 44 months; Sandu 40 months; Rusescu 31 months; Badalescu 30 months; Carabet 25 months; Poiana 14 months and Nicolescu 9 months.
Nicolescu Mihalescu Rusescu Poiana Carabet Sandu Badalescu
- If you have concerns about someone who may be being exploited please call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you believe they are in immediate danger, call 999.