[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 07:02 GMT 08:02 UK
Human trafficking couple jailed
Leonard Llanaj, 19, and Lisa Benhamin, 25, have been jailed for human trafficking
One of the victims told how she was "sold for 3,500"
A couple who were part of a human trafficking gang which duped women into a life of prostitution in the UK have been jailed.

Swindon man Leonard Llanaj, 19, and Lisa Benhamin, 25, of Coventry, tricked two Lithuanians by promising legitimate work Leicester Crown Court heard.

When they arrived at Heathrow they were sold to traffickers, held in a flat and made to have sex with paying clients.

Llanaj was sentenced to 11 years and recommended to be deported afterwards.

Sentencing Llanaj or Cricklade Road, Swindon, Judge Phillip Head told him: "You are corrupt and criminal beyond your years."

Benjamin of Oliver Street, Coventry, had previously been convicted of the same charges, plus a second count of causing incitement of prostitution.

Repeatedly raped

She was jailed at Derby Crown Court for seven years in December 2005 which could not be reported until now for legal reasons.

The victims, aged 18 and 21, thought they were being set up with jobs in pubs or bars.

During a three-week trial, the jury heard how Albanian-born Llanaj would violently bully the two victims into doing what they were told.

One of the women spoke of being repeatedly raped during her ordeal by another gang member, being beaten with a stick.

Giving evidence in court, the 21-year-old victim told the jury how she was "sold for 3,500". "They sold me to Albanians," she said. "They told me I was offered to some Greek people as well."

Her passport was taken away by gang members and she was driven by her "buyers" from the capital to an undisclosed address in Swindon. Here, she said, she was raped by one of the men and held captive for two weeks. During that time, she met the two defendants.

Llanaj then drove the victims to massage parlours including Palm Springs and Pleasures, both in Leicester, and other massage parlours in Bristol, Swindon and Leeds.

The scam was uncovered when one of the women refused to go with a client at Palm Springs, and confided in its owner.




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



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific