Jailed: Gang that trafficked women and kept them under lock and key at brothels in Stratford and Woodford Green
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 18 October 2019
Three members of an organised crime gang operating brothels in east London using women trafficked into the UK have been jailed for a total of 24 years.
They ran illicit brothels at West Ham Lane in Stratford, in Woodford Green's Broadway and at an address in Leyton.
Eleonora Vasileva, 34, living in Alnwick Road, Custom House, was given to 11 years, while Iliya Mihaylov, 31, living at the same address in Alnwick Road, got 10 years.
The third, Marian Ninov Vasilev, 34, from The Broadway in Woodford Green, was sentenced to three years.
The three Bulgarian nationals were arrested after a tip-off to Scotland Yard from Bulgarian authorities that an organised crime network was operating in London.
Victims were being trafficked to London to be met at the airport by the gang who would charge them £200 before taking them to squalid rented apartments where they would rarely be allowed to leave, the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
The women would be expected to work 24 hours a day, taking on any 'clients' immediately and unconditionally, and forced to sell class A drugs. Their advertising, accommodation and work were all controlled by the gang who took half their takings on top of charging them to rent their rooms and forcing them to buy lubricants and condoms up to five times the registered price.
Gang members would visit the women up to three times a week to collect money and would imposed fines for refusing clients or not being "suitably dressed", the court was told. They threatened them with violence and warning that their families would be in danger if they wanted to stop working as prostitutes or to go home.
"The actions of the gang were abhorrent," Det Cons Tom Jackson said after their sentences. "The vulnerable and frightened victims were put in fear of their lives by a callous gang who showed a total disregard for their wellbeing."
The three were sentenced on October 17 after being convicted 10 days before for conspiracy to traffic, to control prostitution and to supply class A drugs.
Vasileva and Mihaylov were also slapped with a 15-year slavery and trafficking prevention order, while Mihaylov was further convicted of theft, making threats to kill, and possessing a disguised stun gun prohibited weapon.
Mihaylov was arrested on March 5 as he was leaving his address in Alnwick Road. Vasileva was found inside and was also arrested. Vasilev was arrested the same day at the brothel in Woodford.
Officers searching the addresses discovered cash, class A drugs and a disguised stun gun.