Thursday, February 24, 2005

Illegal immigration and sex slavery

An illegal immigrant who made a fortune from trafficking East European sex slaves has been jailed for 11 years:

Vullnet Ismailaj, 27, an Albanian, smuggled scores of young Lithuanian women into Britain with the promise that they would earn good money.

Once they arrived, however, they were put straight to work, forced to surrender their passports and work up to 13 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week.

In an “organised and sophisticated” prostitution empire, which stretched from Birmingham to London and employed about ten girls at any one time, Ismailaj bought the young women, often selling them on for up to £4,000 each.

The new arrivals soon found that they had to repay thousands of pounds of “debt” by servicing dozens of men in one day.

Only when they had settled their debts would they be entitled to 25 per cent of their earnings — Ismailaj kept the rest. Brian O’Neill, for the prosecution, said: “It is clear from the way the women were treated by Ismailaj and the others that he, in particular, did not regard these women as anything other than chattels.

“They were his to do with as he pleased, putting them to work, taking their money and offering them for sale.”

Southwark Crown Court was told that police had been alerted to the two-year vice ring by a 25-year-old victim. The court was told that one woman was made to entertain 34 clients on her first day in a brothel in Soho, Central London.

The Lithuanian woman, who was too ill to work the next day, had to hand over all of her £805 earnings.

One week and approximately 150 customers later, she called the police when Ismailaj threatened to kill her for complaining.

During a two-week undercover operation by Scotland Yard’s vice squad, officers discovered a network of prostitutes, all working for Ismailaj.


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