Gang jailed for modern slavery in Lancashire
Eight men have been jailed for a total of 25 years for conspiring to exploit Romanian women by trafficking them to work as prostitutes.
Their large-scale operation saw the women trafficked to various locations around Lancashire and elsewhere.
Hundreds of adverts were placed in the classified section of a website offering sexual services. Once contacted, the women were driven by members of the gang to clients in hotels or at their homes.
Florinel Mitru was the head of the operation and played a leading role in bringing the other gang members and victims into the country. He also organised the advertisements, set the prices as well as arranging the transport to ferry the victims to and from clients’ locations.
In one instance, three women were transported to Northern Ireland for 24 hours to work as prostitutes.
The men, who were sentenced at Preston Crown Court, had all pleaded guilty at earlier hearings.
Joanna Ingle from CPS said: “These men exploited vulnerable victims for their own financial gain, controlling all aspects of their earnings and their lives.
“These women were far from their homes and families and without any real support network in this country. In most cases they were poor and desperate to support their families back in Romania.
“Florinel Mitru masterminded the operation and intended making as much money as possible by exploiting them. The CPS presented evidence to the court that showed he had large amounts of cash in bank accounts and access to expensive vehicles but no legitimate income.
“Modern slavery is a complex issue which the CPS is committed to tackling. Alongside police and other partners in the criminal justice system, we are working to identify, investigate and prosecute offenders, and support victims.”
Notes to editors
- All the defendants pleaded guilty to arranging or facilitating the travel of another for the purpose of exploitation, an offence under the Modern Slavery Act
- Florinel Mitru, 31, was sentenced to 5 years 4 months' imprisonment
- Ionut Dogaru, 29, was sentenced to 3 years 4 months' imprisonment
- Trajan Gavrila, 30, was sentenced to 3 years 9 months' imprisonment
- Marian Diaconu, 26, was sentenced to 2 years 2 months' imprisonment
- Alexandru Baltoiu, 25, was sentenced to 2 years 6 months' imprisonment
- Alexandru Pitigou, 24, was sentenced to 1 year 10 months' imprisonment
- Marius Trasca, 30, was sentenced to 2 years 9 months' imprisonment
- Marius Dide, 27, was sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment
- Catalin Iordach, 28, was sentenced to 1 year 5 months' imprisonment
- Joanna Ingle is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West
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