More jail time for sex traffickers

TWO Newham men who forced a teenage Romanian country girl into prostitution after conning her into coming to London had their “unduly lenient” jail sentences increased by top judges.

Vasile Oaches, 27, was originally jailed for two-and-a-half years, and Vasile Maris, 30, both of Meanley Road, Manor Park, for two years, after they were convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation and controlling prostitution.

But after a reference of the case by the country’s top law officer, the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, three top judges increased the terms to four years and three years, respectively.

Lord Justice Hooper said the sentences, imposed at Croydon Crown Court in May, did not reflect the seriousness of the crimes.

He told the Court of Appeal how the young girl had been enticed to the United Kingdom with the promise of well-paid work in a restaurant.

But, when she arrived she was instead kept in a property in Church Road, Manor Park, and forced into working on the street as a prostitute.

She escaped after enlisting the help of another man, who she had known while living in Romania, and reported what had happened to the police.

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The case returned to the Court of Appeal after the Attorney asked for a review of the sentences, arguing they were “unduly lenient”.

But defence lawyers counter-argued that the sentences, while possibly lenient, were not “unduly” so.

The enterprise had not been sophisticated and involved only “very minor” financial gain, while the victim had now moved on and was living a normal life, it was said.

Giving judgment, Lord Justice Hooper said it was “inevitable” that her ordeal would have a lasting impact on someone who had lived all but a couple of months of her life in a rural village.

“The sentences failed to reflect the totality of the offending in bringing the victim into this country by deception and then controlling, through coercion, her work as a prostitute and corrupting her in the process,” he said.

Oaches’ sentence was increased to four years and Maris’ to three years. Both will be deported when they have finished their prison terms.