[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
'Sex trade gang trafficked women'
A family of sex traders tricked women into the UK and then forced them to work as prostitutes, a court has heard.

Their terrified victims made the gang up to 7,000 a week each, Southwark Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

The jury heard one teenager lost her virginity when she was forced to "entertain" 10 men on her first night.

Flamur Demarku, 33, and brothers Agron, 21, and Bedari, 22, and another man, Izzet Fejzullah, 32, deny prostitution and human trafficking charges.

No escape

The jury was told that among the victims was a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Lithuania who thought she was coming to England for a holiday.

Michael Holland, prosecuting, told the court a combination of embarrassment, fear and threats to her and her family quickly forced her to submit as she was traded between red light bosses and forced to work seven days a week.

THE DEFENDANTS
Flamur Demarku, 33, of Hall Road, Hounslow, west London
Argon Demarku, 21, of Hall Road, Hounslow
Bedari Demarku, 22, of Hanworth Road, Feltham, west London
Izzet Fejzullahu, 32, of Bell Road, Hounslow

But her mother became ever more frantic back home and a local Lithuanian TV station picked up the story, Mr Holland said.

So, too, did the BBC which tracked down enough leads to enable police to raid one of the London brothels, run by the Albanian gang, and rescue her.

Mr Holland said neither the schoolgirl nor the 19-year-old virgin were given any choice about their fate.

"They feared for themselves and their families should they defy their new owners. They were far from home without money," he said.

"They didn't even know where they were. They were forced to stay, too frightened to complain. There was no escape."

They did not use violence but relied on fear and the lack of confidence that comes with youth
Prosecutor Michael Holland

He added: "The girls were told they would have to pay off their purchase price to the men who got them into the UK.

"Then they would be allowed to keep a portion of their earnings.

"After that they would be allowed to come and go to a certain extent. But by then, we suggest, they had given up and accepted their fate.

"They did not use violence but relied on fear and the lack of confidence that comes with youth."

He added that some women were so traumatised and ashamed they would probably continue to work as prostitutes.

The defendants deny seven conspiracies alleging agreements to traffic women into Britain for "sexual exploitation", doing so within the country, causing them to" engage in sexual activity without consent", causing prostitution and controlling it and similarly causing child prostitution and controlling that as well.

The case continues.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific