Three men have been found guilty of trafficking and exploiting two Romanian girls in Preston.Advertisement
A tweet sent to the Preston Police account began the investigation into a brothel in Longworth Street, Ribbleton.
Detectives uncovered the house where the women were being forced to work as prostitutes and being raped by the three men. They raided the property in July and made the arrests.
Following the trial at Preston Crown Court the three men, all of Longworth Street, Ribbleton, were all found guilty of raping the 18-year-old girls.
Marius Petre, 26, was found guilty of intentionally arranging entry to the UK of a person with a view to their sexual exploitation, causing and inciting prostitution for financial gain and two counts of rape.
Adrian Matei, 34, was found guilty of intentionally arranging entry to the UK of a person with a view to their sexual exploitation, causing and inciting prostitution for financial gain and two counts of rape.
Ionut Ion, 35, was found guilty of managing a brothel used for prostitution and two counts of rape.
The two girls were lured to the UK with the promise of working as maids in a hotel.
When they arrived they were forced to work as prostitutes, performing sexual acts on customers and were threatened with violence if they refused to comply.
DI Jane Webb of Preston Police said: “These convictions are the culmination of a long and intricate inquiry by Preston CID in a complex area of policing in which identifying human trafficking or modern slavery can be very difficult.
“The girls were forced into sexual exploitation and like so many victims of modern day slavery; they were controlled and trapped by the traffickers who brought them to Preston, and were fearful of repercussions on their families and themselves if they tried to seek help.
“The girls have been incredibly brave throughout this whole process and are now being supported to build better lives here in the UK. They are thankful for being rescued from the evil men that subjected them to such abhorrent crimes and they would urge others out there who may be trapped and are being exploited, to come forward knowing help is available.
“If you believe either yourself, or someone you know, is being exploited, be that sexually or in any other way, please do not suffer in silence. Look out for others in your communities. The victims in this case may not have been found so swiftly if it wasn’t for information from members of the local community. If something doesn’t seem right, call us on 101.”
The three men are due to be sentenced on Friday 18 March.
Both girls are now being supported through the National Crime Agency and the National Referral Mechanism in which victims of trafficking are supported with help to return to their home countries or accommodation in the UK with immigration status assistance. Long-term help with their education and employment is also available through various charities.