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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 17:17 GMT
Owner of 2.5m brothels is jailed
Ian Barnett
Ian Barnett ran four brothels in Manchester
A man who ran a 2.5m brothel operation in the Manchester area has been jailed for more than three years.

Ian Barnett, 56, of Salford, was arrested after police were alerted to a trafficked woman working for him.

Barnett admitted keeping a brothel used for prostitution, conspiracy to keep and manage brothels for prostitution and controlling prostitution for gain.

At Manchester Crown Court Judge Anthony Ensor told Barnett his "vile trade" was "on a breathtaking scale".

The court heard police found a 19-year-old woman, who came "from a very humble background" in Lithuania, had been brought to the UK by an Albanian gang under the pretext that she could earn money as a cleaner.

Effectively Ian Barnett turned a blind eye...to the trafficking of women
Prosecutor Tina Landale

"Instead she found herself treated as a commodity," prosecutor Tina Landale said.

The woman, who spoke no English, was forced to work at Dolly Mixtures in Shudehill, Manchester.

Ms Landale said: "She had to sit with other prostitutes on the couch until a customer chose her.

"She was used as a prostitute on 12 occasions while at the brothel.

"Ian Barnett took her photograph without her knowledge or her consent and he put her picture on the internet to advertise her as a prostitute without her consent."

The woman, who cannot be named, spent three days at the brothel before being rescued by police following a tip-off on 31 July 2005.

Previous warnings

Ms Landale said there were 12 other foreign girls who were suspected of being trafficked but this was never proved.

Barnett, of Ingledene Avenue, Salford, was never charged with people trafficking offences.

The court heard how Barnett was warned four times that he would be prosecuted if he carried on running brothels.

The prosecution estimate that his four brothels, in Altrincham, Cheetham Hill, Levenshulme and Shudehill, brought in the 2.5m over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Ms Landale said: "Effectively Ian Barnett turned a blind eye...to the trafficking of women.

"He is not charged with trafficking any women but he provided premises where traffickers were able to take women."

Female managers

Barnett delegated the day-to-day running of his brothels to three female managers.

Carole Duncan, 50, of Harding Street, Ardwick, Abigail Stevens, 34, of Westerling Way, Moss Side, and Gaynor Fieldhouse, 48, of St Margaret's Road, Moston, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to control prostitution for gain.

They will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 14 March.

The Albanian crime gang was convicted following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in December 2006.

Barnett was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison.

SEE ALSO
Seven guilty over sex trafficking
21 Dec 06 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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