UP to 12,000 women have been smuggled into Britain and forced to work as prostitutes earning hundreds of millions of pounds for organised crime gangs, reveals a new study.
The “sex slaves” live and work in appalling conditions and suffer kidnap, rape and imprisonment.
Bonded by thousands of pounds of debt, they are strictly controlled by threats of violence to family members back home. Most of the trafficked women are from Eastern Europe, China and South East Asia.
The scale of migrant prostitution in England and Wales was uncovered by ground-breaking research for the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The two-year study, known as Project Acumen, revealed that 30,000 women are working in brothels around the country.
Police estimate 17,000 are immigrants and believe 11,800 may have been trafficked into the country.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Human trafficking is a brutal form of organised crime where people are traded as commodities and exploited for profit by criminal gangs.
“Combating trafficking and looking after its victims is a priority for the new Government. In order to combat trafficking more effectively we need to understand it better
“Having people trafficked into the UK is unacceptable, therefore it is vital that we use Acumen to re-focus our efforts, both at targeting the criminal gangs that trade in this human misery and in helping victims escape and recover from their ordeal.”
Nottinghamshire Deputy Chief Constable Chris Eyre, the Acpo head of migration crime, said: “Human trafficking for sexual exploitation involves the most extreme abuse of individuals.”
Police and the UK Border Agency will continue to crackdown on trafficking routes and prosecute the gangsters profiting from the exploitation of vulnerable women, he said.
Many prostitutes forced to work in UK brothels are controlled by men like playboy pimp Luan Plakici.
The Ferrari-driving Albanian asylum seeker was jailed in 2003 for trafficking women into the UK.
He was described as “violent and merciless” by his victims.
Plakici, 32, who made at least £1million from sex slaves, was initially jailed for 10 years but had his sentence increased to 23 years by three appeal court judges who thought his term “unduly lenient”.
The Project Acumen team declined to give a figure for the amount of money crime gangs make through prostitution but it has been estimated at £250million a year.
There are around 6,000 brothels in England and Wales.
Most of them are in London followed by Yorkshire and Humberside.
The study also found that around 5,000 of the foreign prostitutes working here had suspected they were likely to end up working in the sex industry long before they left home. Of the trafficked women, only the fear of what could happen to their families at the hands of the gangsters is preventing them from quitting prostitution and returning to their country of origin.
Mr Eyre said: “We now have a better picture of the extent of trafficking and will look to support from Government to ensure we work effectively with all agencies to make the UK a more hostile environment for traffickers.”
He said police and border agencies were determined to shut down all trafficking routes into the UK.
He also wants to see a greater number of prosecutions of those who are exploit women for their own gains.
Thursday August 19,2010
By John Twomey
Source: The Express