Grim cost of vice trade
THE cost of a human life was revealed as just £9,000 yesterday as the grim mechanics of the trade in sex slaves were laid bare in Norfolk.Judge Peter Jacobs jailed a Thai national for six months after she admitted helping lure a fellow countrywoman into vice.
THE cost of a human life was revealed as just £9,000 yesterday as the grim mechanics of the trade in sex slaves were laid bare in Norfolk.
Judge Peter Jacobs jailed a Thai national for six months after she admitted helping lure a fellow countrywoman into vice.
Norwich Crown Court heard the bleak account of a young prostitute who was transported to Britain before being forced to work in a grubby sex den in the city.
The victim was approached in her family home in Thailand by an agency offering work in Britain. She decided to take up the offer to pay for her father's medical bills and her mother's debts.
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Ubonrat Saosiri, who knew the victim from her time in their home country, obtained a bogus visa for the woman before a gang smuggled her on to our shores under the noses of officials.
Saosiri, 26, and her boyfriend then travelled to a London hotel where they handed over wads of cash to buy the woman in a swift businesslike transaction.
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Investigating officer Det Con Dean Harrison said: "Tragically, the victim decided she would take the opportunity to help her beleaguered family back home but had no idea that she would be debt bonded, forced into working in the sex industry and be effectively required to deal with several clients a day.
"By the end of October 2005 the victim had managed to pay back the £24,000 after having to see an average of five clients a day. She was then able to flee from Norwich and move to the Great Yarmouth area."
By the time the woman arrived in Yarmouth she was so embroiled in the underground world that she knew of no other way to live than to continue working as a prostitute.
Prosecutors said Saosiri was merely a pawn in a larger criminal network responsible for importing many more women to staff brothels.
Judge Jacobs said there were others far more culpable. "You were not a prime mover," he said.
The case comes just a week after it was revealed that a total of 26 women across the county have been rescued from the sex industry as part of a massive Norfolk police crackdown.
The force has raided a total of 30 suspected brothels in Norfolk and teamed up with the Metropolitan police to crack the operation's London hub. Sixteen people, seven from Norfolk, have been charged with human trafficking and prostitution offences.
Saosiri pleaded guilty to assisting the arrival of another person for sexual exploitation between January 2005 and March 2006.
Prosecutor Nick Methold said: "The woman, a Thai national, was taken to a hotel in London by people responsible for bringing her here. This defendant and her then partner, Alan Merry, arrived and bought her for £9,000."
Defending, Michael Claire said that Saosiri had already spent 96 days as a "frightened foreign national in a British prison". Having served half of her sentence, she will be released into the custody of the immigration service.
Det Sgt Stuart Bailey, who is in charge of policing human trafficking and prostitution, said the investiga-tion was part of operation Pentameter Two.
He added: "Human trafficking causes misery to its vulnerable victims who in many cases are debt bonded and totally exploited with little or no opportunity for escape from their cycle of suffering.
"Our message is that we are committed to acting swiftly and robustly in arresting and prosecuting human traffickers and disrupting their networks."