Page last updated at 18:40 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Pair jailed over sex trafficking

Gerard Carroll and Moi Cheng Chua
Carroll and Chua were arrested by Kent Police in March

Two people have been jailed for their part in the trafficking and exploitation of women for sex in Kent.

Gerard Carroll, 51, of Whetsted Road, Tonbridge, was given two 18-month jail terms, to run concurrently, at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

Moi Cheng Chua, 47, of Mercer Street, Tunbridge Wells, received two 12-month sentences, also to run concurrently.

The court was told the pair, who admitted various charges, were involved in prostitution in west Kent.

Carroll previously pleaded guilty to trafficking woman within the UK for Sexual exploitation and conspiring to control prostitution for gain.

It is believed that the women identified in this investigation were transported around the country
Det Insp Tom Richards

And at a previous hearing Chua admitted controlling prostitution for gain and transferring criminal property by laundering monies.

The judge ordered Chua to be deported once she had completed her sentence.

The pair were arrested by Kent Police in March following an investigation into human trafficking and the sex trade.

Chua, previously from Malaysia, worked at a house in Mercer Street, Tunbridge Wells, where Kent Police believe young Asian woman were being used prostitutes.

She looked after the premises and banked hundreds of pounds into a number of bank accounts.

Carroll taxied women between the house in Mercer Street and an old office in Quarry Hill Road, Tonbridge, that had been converted into a living space.

'Abuse and misery'

He lived with a prostitute in Tonbridge and paid rent and bills at a property in St Andrews Street, Lincoln, that was used as a brothel.

Carroll also regularly transferred money to Spain were he owned a number of houses, Kent Police said.

During the police operation five women, who told officers they had come to the UK illegally and were involved in the sex trade, were removed from properties across west Kent.

Police said the women told officers they were in fear of their employers.

The majority said they had had to work as prostitutes to pay for the cost of their travel to the UK.

Det Insp Tom Richards said: "Human trafficking isn't a problem specifically in Kent but we are aware of activities of crime groups who use the county as a temporary base for their criminal activities.

"It is believed that the women identified in this investigation were transported around the country and not just used as prostitutes in Kent."

He added: "Kent Police remains committed to ensuring that vulnerable victims exploited in this vile trade are identified, rescued and provided with appropriate support and protection.

"It is important that we work with our partners to ensure that every bit of protection and support is provided to the victims who can sometimes feel reluctant to come forward and escape what has been a continuous cycle of abuse and misery."

Lisa Rose of the UK Border Agency said: "Human trafficking of any kind, whether for sexual or labour exploitation, is an appalling crime where people are treated as commodities and traded for profit. It is a modern form of slavery.

"But both the UK border Agency and Kent Police are determined, with our specialist foreign national crime teams, to stamp it out and catch the ringleaders.

"Today's sentence sends a message loud and clear to those involved in trafficking, we will work hard to find those responsible and hold you accountable."

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Gerrard Carroll is in prison alongside his Malaysian-born accomplice



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