A sex trafficking ring operating from a Croydon internet cafe have been jailed.
Four Hungarian men and one British woman were all found guilty for their part in over 60 incidents spanning nearly two years during which women from Hungary were trafficked into the country, yesterday at Hove Crown Court.
Mate Puskas, 26, from West Sussex, and former partner Victoria Brown, 25, Bognor Regis, were arrested in October 2012 at the cafe which they ran, Cyberspace Internet Cafe in Surrey Street, and were found guilty of conspiring to traffic people into the UK for sexual exploitation.
Puskas and Brown, who have a child together, were jailed for six years and three years respectively.
Alongside the couple, Zoltan Mohacsi, from Ilford, was sentenced to six years for the same offence. Brothers Istvan and Peter Toth, from Eastbourne, who have been on the run since absconding from court in September 2013, were sentenced to five years and four years respectively.
Online profiles advertising sexual services were made for the Hungarian women, and customers could arrange to meet them by contacting the gang’s mobile phones.
Acting Chief Crown Prosecutor CPS South East Portia Ragnauth said: “None of us can imagine how desperate the victims were in this case. In many instances, they came to the UK to try to escape financial difficulties at home.”
Ragnauth continued: “Payments for the flights were often made by one of the five individuals convicted today. Once in the UK, these ‘debts’ were used as a hold over the women who were forces to work up to 12 hours a day.”
“When the women told the group they did not want to work as prostitutes, threats would be made against them, and their families back in Hungary. Threats were also made to expose the work they had been doing in the UK in their home country.”
David Fairclough, from the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigation team, said: “This appalling gang preyed on the vulnerability of young women who can to the UK in the hope of finding a better life. They controlled the women mentally, physically and financially. Our officers dismantled their despicable network and they are now where they belong – behind bars.”