Page last updated at 17:54 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 18:54 UK

Sex trafficking gang duo jailed

The leaders of a sex trafficking gang which kept women as "slaves" have been jailed for a total of almost 13 years.

Fei Zhang and his "second in command" Suzhen Xu supplied girls from China and Thailand to brothels in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Worcester.

Zhang, of Cavendish Gardens in Barking, Essex was sentenced to eight years and Xu, of Hewitt's Key, Barking received four years and nine months.

The brothels were raided in March 2007, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Many of the women were forced to pay back a 25,000 bond before they could send money home to their families.

'Locked in rooms'

Xu admitted conspiring to traffic for the sex trade, conspiring to control prostitution and money laundering.

Zhang denied conspiring to traffic for the sex trade and conspiring to control prostitution.

Judge Alistair McCreath said they kept the young, vulnerable women as slaves because they were not allowed to leave the four brothels across the West Midlands.

They were the "raw materials" in a commercial business which kept them as slaves, he added.

The court heard there were about 20 to 30 girls working in Worcester over a three-month period and many were not allowed to leave the building. After working they were locked in their rooms.

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