Romanian Prostitutes Trafficked in Ilford, London
A "parasitic" Romanian family have been jailed for a total of 24 years after "buying" a woman, plying her with alcohol and drugs and forcing her to work as a prostitute. The vulnerable 20-year old was taken to a home in Romania in January 2012 and "purchased" by Constantin Mihai and his wife Valentina for 10,000 Euros.
She was taken against her will to the UK, forced to work as a prostitute in Ilford and was subjected to regular beatings from 37-year-old Constantin Mihai. Her identity documents were taken from her and she was plied with alcohol and cocaine in order to make her dependant on her captors. When Constantin returned to Romania, Valentina Mihai controlled the victim in the absence of her husband.
Vulnerable' Girl Plied With Drugs And Forced Into Prostitution
The victim was given a phone linked to their iCloud accounts so that her communications and movements could be monitored at all times. She was prevented from any contact with her family and forced to tell them that she did not want to see them anymore.
In April 2015, after three years of forced prostitution, violence and substance abuse, the victim managed to secretly hide away enough money to purchase a plane ticket to Hungary, where she had family connections.
The victim fled the UK leaving her iPhone with a taxi driver, fearing that she would be found by the Mihais. As a result of a police investigation Constantin Aurel Mihai, of Targoviste in Romania, was convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and money laundering.
He has been jailed for nine years. Valentina Mihai, 37, was convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and money laundering. She was jailed for six years.
Catalin Marian Mihai, 32, was convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and money laundering.
He was jailed for eight years.
The investigation by the Met's Kidnap and Modern Slavery Unit commenced in November 2015 following a referral from the Romanian Police.
A pro-active operation was commenced by officers from the Met's Modern Slavery and Kidnap unit in November 2015, working with the Romanian Police's organised crime unit and Eurojust.
It became apparent that the Mihai brothers had an extensive network of women working for them in prostitution who were sending them and Valentine Mihai huge sums of money through money service bureau and couriers.
In October 2017, Constantin and Valentina Mihai were arrested at their home address in Targoviste on a European Arrest Warrant, with Catalin Marian Mihai being arrested at another property in Targoviste. All three were extradited to the UK and stood trial at Southwark Crown Court on 9 April 2018.
DC Alex Snigorski from the Met's Kidnap and Modern Slavery team, said: "The Mihais are a parasitic family living off the misery and suffering of others.
"They thought nothing of 'buying' women and abusing them for their own financial benefit, to fund their love of luxury cars and property. "I would like to pay tribute to the enormous courage and strength of character that the victim, in this case, has shown throughout the trial."