The Met’s Human Trafficking Team (HTT) has had its first human trafficking sentencing

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – On 30 March 07, shortly after the team was started, it was called to assist Enfield borough officers with a Bulgarian woman that the borough believed has been trafficked to the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

In interview the victim, at the time 31 years old, told police that she knew both Saisho YANKOV (male) and Asie ISUFOVA (female) from Bulgaria and they told her they were planning on coming to England and would pay for her travel arrangements so that she could come too. They told her she could pay them back when she was working in the UK.

Shortly after in early March they travelled, via train, to Greece, where her brother lived, and then flew to Heathrow, England.

They went from the airport to the house of another Bulgarian male where they stayed overnight. The next day they went to the Forest House Hostel, Green Lanes, N13 where YANKOV asked the victim for her Bulgarian ID using the excuse he needed it to register but never returned it to her. For the next five days she was left alone at the hotel. She was required to remain within the hotel by YANKOV and ISUFOVA whilst they went out on the pretext of looking for “normal” employment for her in a restaurant or a cleaning post.

On the fifth day they told her the only work they had been able to find was prostitution. She told them she didn’t want to do this but YANKOV then made threats against her family back in Bulgaria, telling her he was part of the Bulgarian mafia and would break all their legs if she didn’t work as a prostitute for two years to pay off the £2,000 she owed for the travel.

The next day YANKOV dropped her off at 118 Warham Road, Haringey, a brothel. Of the money earned there she was required to give half her earnings to the madam at the address and the other half to YANKOV at the end of each shift. The victim was moved to a second brothel in central London after a failed escape attempt whereby she sought help from a taxi driver who occasionally picked her up after work.

She was at the second brothel for four days, for the first three she didn’t have any clients as she refused to take cocaine with them. On the last day she had three clients and was then offered a job with a client that involved her being dropped off at a client’s house. She took this opportunity to escape.

She made her way to a café where two women, one of whom was Bulgarian, noticed her crying. They took her shopping for new clothes and then took her to the police station in the morning.

On 30 March 07 officers attended the Forest House Hostel, and identified the room used by YANKOV and ISUFOVA. YANKOV was arrested and during the search of the room police found the victim’s ID card hidden in a drawer. ISUFOVA wasn’t at the premises.

On 27 April 07 ISUFOVA was arrested after she had returned to the Forest House Hostel.

In the lead up to the trial of YANKOV and ISUFOVA, during which time they were both remanded in custody, Bulgarian police were called in to deal with repeated threats made against the victim’s family in Bulgaria to try and pressurise the victim to not give evidence.

On 28.1.08 the jury at Wood Green Crown Court has found both defendants guilt and today (15.2.08) sentenced them to:

Saisho Dimitrov YANKOV (30.6.66- 41ys), of Forest House Hostel, Green Lanes, N13 was sentenced to:

Six years for trafficking into the UK;
Three and a half years for trafficking within the UK, and;
18 months for controlling prostitution, all to be served concurrently. The judge recommended that after half the sentence is served he is considered for deportation.

Asie Nazmieva ISUFOVA (6.2.82 – 25ys) of Patriarh Evtimiy Street, Levski, Bulgaria was sentenced to:

30 months for trafficking within the UK, and:
12 months for controlling prostitution, to be served concurrently. The judge recommended that after half the sentence is served she is considered for deportation.

DI Sally Jeffrey, from the Met’s Operation Maxim, said:

“The sentencing demonstrates how seriously police and the courts will deal with people traffickers. It is a particularly important moment to me and my team as this was the first case the team took on when we began and it is now our first human trafficking conviction since we set up the Human Trafficking Team. This sends a strong message to victims that we can bring them justice and to those involved in trafficking that we are making the capital a hostile place for criminals who seek to use it to traffic into or through.”

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