Men behind the women’s alleged exploitation are facing jail in their home country after ‘hiring out prostitutes in Glasgow lured from poverty blackspots in Romania’
A Romanian group of men accused of selling trafficked women from their homeland as sex slaves in Britain allegedly made £500,000 in only a year.
The victims were allegedly hired out as prostitutes in Glasgow after being lured from poverty blackspots in Romania.
But a series of raids on flats in the Dennistoun area – where 10 women were said to have been held – smashed the racket last year.
And the Romanian men behind the women’s alleged exploitation are facing jail in their home country for their part in it, the Daily Record reports.
One of those arrested was Razvan Nedelea, 35, who is charged with organised crime and prostitution offences.
He and nine others face up to seven years in a Romanian prison.
The group came to Scotland in 2015 and exploited their victims in three properties in Dennistoun.
The bosses allegedly sold the women through escort agencies and dictated every detail down to the number of punters, how much they were charged and where and when they would be seen.
A police spokesman in Romania said: “The men were part of an organised group which had several members, all Romanian nationals.
“They were trafficking women from Romania to Scotland with the purpose of sexual exploitation.
“The women worked as prostitutes in Scotland, mainly in flats rented by the criminal group members, who controlled them and collected the money they made.”
The women were brought to Glasgow from poverty-stricken Prahova county, in central Romania, it is alleged.
Nedelea comes from Ploiesti the capital of Prahova county, which has been the focus of a major crackdown on organised crime and sex trafficking in the last year.
Romania’s Organised Crime Brigade of Ploiesti and Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) launched an investigation into the gang at the beginning of 2016 and traced their network from Romania to Scotland.
In an operation codenamed Arcero, the Romanian authorities called in the EU law enforcement agency Europol, the cross-border justice organisation Eurojust and Police Scotland.
In April last year, they raided flats in Glasgow’s Craigpark Drive, Hanson Park and Sword Street and freed 10 women.
They also seized cash, mobile phones and other valuable items from the gang.
A Romanian police spokesman said: “The members of the group were operating in Scotland because they earned more money from prostitution than in Romania.
“Also, they thought that by operating in Scotland, the Romanian authorities won’t be able to investigate them.”
In August last year, early morning raids were carried out in Ploiesti targeting the group of men allegedly involved in the trafficking of women into the UK for sex.
More than 40 potential victims of human trafficking were interviewed following the raid.
It is believed Nedelea moved to London from Romania in 2014 and came to Scotland as part of the network in 2015.
He lived the high life with a glamorous girlfriend and trips to Amsterdam, where he smoked marijuana and partied in nightclubs.
A spokesman for Europol said: “As a result of joint operational activities, Police Scotland and Romanian national police and DIICOT, supported by Europol and Eurojust, have dismantled a Romanian organised criminal network involved in trafficking of Romanian victims exploited in the sex market in Scotland.”
A Romanian police spokesman said: “We identified around 10 suspects as part of the criminal group that have exploited 10 women.
“This case was successful due to a very good cooperation between Romanian and Scottish law enforcement authorities and to the operational support provided by Europol and Eurojust.”
The number of trafficking victims identified and rescued in Scotland rose by 46 per cent in the two years up to 2015.
Last week, four men were arrested in Slovakia as part of an investigation into human trafficking.
Five people were arrested in Glasgow the week before as part of the same inquiry.
The operation, involving officers from Police Scotland, Slovakian police and Europol, has so far uncovered 16 potential victims.
Three of the victims were found after searches of properties in the Govanhill area of Glasgow on February 9.
The suspects in that case, aged 40, 30, 26 and 23, have appeared in court in Slovakia.
Detective Inspector Stevie McMillan said: “This forms part of what is still very much a live and ongoing inquiry.
“We will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies, both in the UK and across Europe, to ensure anyone else who has been involved in this crime will be brought to justice.
“This is a significant development to ensure the individuals involved in this crime group cannot inflict the same misery and suffering upon other vulnerable victims.”