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Sex-trafficking gang operated prostitution racket from house in Hendon
Members of a violent sex-trafficking gang that forced more than 120 women into prostitution and rape have been convicted in the latest stage of a major police operation.
Ringleader Vishal Chaudhary, of Park View Gardens, Hendon Central, and Attila Kovacs, of Highview Gardens, New Southgate, were among the latest six to be convicted following a five-and-a-half month trial at Croydon Crown Court.
Almost all of the victims came from Hungary and many had answered adverts for jobs online, while others applied for administrative, cleaning and babysitting work.
Instead of finding work though, Croyden Crown Court heard how many of the women were picked up from Stansted airport and delivered to brothels in Barnet, Camden, Waltham Forest, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Brent, Westminster, Enfield, Hounslow, Islington and Kensington and Chelsea.
Some victims were made to have sex with up to 20 men a day.
The gang controlled the women with threats of violence and intimidation, including threatening to harm or tell their families they were prostitutes, as well as holding their passports.
Krisztian Abel, a 33-year-old Hungarian national of Green Lane, Ilford, acted as an enforcer. He threatened and abused the girls if they did not do as they were told.
In one case, he forced a victim in her 20s to carry out sex acts with clients that left her with serious injuries as punishment after she discovered the address of the brothel where she was being held.
The gang managed the victims from a makeshift call centre at a residential address in Parkview Gardens, Hendon Central.
Police found more than 40 mobile phones there used to organise bookings on a commercial scale.
Each phone had details of the victims' working names, fees and brothel locations taped to them. They charged clients between £30 & £100 per hour.
The ring leader Vishal Chaudhary used various pseudonyms including Rahul Singh and Aresh Khan in order to disguise his true identity. Until days before his arrest he lived in a plush apartment block in Pan Peninsula Square, Canary Wharf and drove a Mercedes convertible, enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.
A joint operation involving the Hungarian police led to the arrests of 35-year-old Chaudhary, 33-year-old Kovacs and four others from Sutton, Manchester and Budapest.
They are all due to be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on a date yet to be set.
Det Sgt Alan Clark, of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said: "Many of the victims have been deeply traumatised by what this gang did to them, and displayed signs of severe distress when they told us what had happened to them.
"The group applied a cold business mentality to their crime, treating women as no more than a commodity. Often the women weren't even aware of the services they were expected to provide.”
Victims of trafficking are urged to call the human trafficking freephone 24-hour helpline on 0800 783 2589.
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