Trio jailed for modern slavery offences in east London

|News, Sexual offences

Three people who ran a criminal enterprise in which women were trafficked from Bulgaria to work as prostitutes in London have been jailed for modern slavery offences.

Eleonora Vasileva, 33, Iliya Mihaylov, 31, and Marian Vasilev, 34, ran two brothels in Woodford Green and Stratford between 1 January 2017 and 6 March 2019. The trafficked women were lured to the UK on false pretences of adequate working conditions. One of the women was forced into prostitution.

They were all forced to be available to work 24 hours a day, have sex with any and all clients, and were restricted from leaving the properties for any length of time. The women were ordered to pay fines if the conditions imposed were not met. They were forced to supply cocaine to customers, had to purchase consumables such as condoms at inflated prices and had no medical facilities made available to them. Vasileva, Mihaylov and Vasilev took the vast majority of the money that the women were paid by their customers.

Ringleader Vasileva recruited the sex workers from abroad, arranging their travel to the UK, paying for properties, organising and paying for advertising and controlling the prostitution. Mihaylov provided the cocaine to the brothels and was the enforcer for fines and discipline, while Vasilev assisted the other two in running their criminal enterprise.

Following a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, on Monday 7 October 2019 all three were found guilty of human trafficking, controlling prostitution for gain and supplying cocaine. Mihaylov was also convicted of stealing £7,500 from one of the women when she informed them she wanted to return to Bulgaria, and subsequently threatening to kill her.

On Thursday 17 October, they were sentenced as follows:

  • Eleonora Vasileva - sentenced to 11 years
  • Iliya Mihaylov - sentenced to 10 years
  • Marian Ninov Vasilev - sentenced to three years.

Damaris Lakin, CPS prosecutor, said: “Women were brought to London by these individuals with a view to committing criminal offences and were ruthlessly exploited.

“They kept them under tight control, rarely allowing them to leave the properties and operating a criminal enterprise in which the women feared violent repercussions should they not continue to bring in money. All the while they took the vast majority of the money they were paid by their customers and siphoned off even more through a callous system of fines.

“While this case was underpinned by the strong police operation and close working with Bulgarian authorities, these three individuals were convicted owing to the courage of the women coming forward and supporting the prosecution. It was only with their evidence that we were able to show the court the fear in which they were forced to live and work.

“The CPS is committed to working with the police and criminal justice partners abroad to tackle all forms of modern slavery and protect those who are being exploited. There is simply no place in our modern society for criminal activities such as these and we will continue to prosecute those who seek to exploit others in this way.”

Notes to editors

  • Damaris Lakin is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS London South.

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