A Romanian couple who trafficked women into prostitution in the UK, including a 14 year old girl have been jailed for 14 years each.
Romelia Florentina Radu, 32, and Petre Niculescu, 39, pleaded guilty to the charges of trafficking the young girl along with eight other accounts of this crime.
Romanian male George Maracineanu, 47, was also sentenced to two years and eight months for persuading a teenager to go to the UK, promising her a job and love. Instead, she was handed over to the couple.
The Metropolitan and Romanian Police forces ran a joint operation that lasted eight months, helping bring down the couple’s criminal activities.
All three suspects initially denied controlling the women and girls for prostitution. However, they later pleaded guilty to nine separate counts at Kingston Crown Court.
Ms Radu and Mr Niculescu, admitted to conspiracy to traffic persons into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation between 2013 and 2016; conspiracy to control prostitution for gain between 2013 and 2016; conspiracy to control a child in prostitution and conspiracy to cause child prostitution for gain in 2016, all in which took place in Romania and London.
Mr Maracineanu, also pleaded guilty to five separate counts including, Conspiracy to traffic persons into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation and Conspiracy to cause prostitution for gain between 2013 and 2016.
According to the Metropolitan Police, “More than 20 significant witnesses have provided testimony against the defendants during the investigation providing overwhelming evidence against Radu, Niculescu and Maracineanu. Nine of those giving evidence were victims of the crime group, having experienced varying degrees of both trauma and abuse.”
In the trial, the judge and the jury learned how the couple stole the young women’s lives and how they physically and mentally abused them.
In a victim’s statement, the girl said: “I was forced to have sex continuously. Many times it was painful and I was disgusted.”
Ms Damaris Lakin, a prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service London’s complex casework unit said: “The bravery of these women in providing evidence and supporting this prosecution has helped stop a dangerous criminal network taking advantage of vulnerable young girls.”
Police helped bring down the couple under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and for controlling prostitution. They aim to help protect victims and prevent this from happening in the future.