Vigilant hotel staff help detectives smash sex-trafficking gang
TWO men have been jailed for trafficking two young Latvian women into the UK for sexual exploitation – the first conviction of its kind in Derbyshire.
The 17-year-old and 25-year-old women believed they were visiting London for a weekend with a Latvian man they had met on a sex website.
But when the women and the man arrived at Gatwick Airport, Tajinder Singh and Gurdeep Singh were there to meet them and drove them to Ripley, where they were first taken to a kebab shop and then to the Premier Inn off the A610.
Police broke up the scam after two days in October last year, when hotel staff alerted them to suspicious activity.
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Derby Crown Court heard that Tajinder Singh, 33, and Gurdeep Singh, 52, had arranged and paid for the women to come to the UK from Latvian capital Riga.
They had also transferred money into the Latvian man's bank account.
The older woman was sexually assaulted in the hotel by Kulvinder Gill, who ran the kebab shop, which was owned by Tajinder Singh and Gurdeep Singh.
The younger woman was allegedly raped by the Latvian man, who is to be extradited to the UK after serving a prison sentence for unrelated offences to face charges of human trafficking and rape.
Prosecutor Andrew Peet said the women were "duped" by the Latvian man about the purpose of the trip. The 31-year-old, who cannot be named, left the Premier Inn and returned to Latvia.
Mr Peat said: "The midnight flit by this man came very much as a surprise to the women – being left high and dry in this country."
The women were "wined and dined" and bought clothes and food.
The older woman filmed a conversation on her phone between the two defendants and another man, which included the words: "He will pay up. When he sees her he will change his mind."
Sentencing the men, Judge Ebraham Mooncey said: "One shudders to think about what would have happened if the hotel weren't concerned enough to call the police."
Gill, 44, of Wellington Street, Ripley, admitted sexual assault and was jailed for one year. Tajinder Singh, of Wellington Street, Ripley, and Gurdeep Singh, of Beverley Crescent, Wolverhampton, who admitted human trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation, were sent to prison for two years.
Gurdeep Singh and Kulvinder Gill are expected to be deported to India once they have served their sentences.
Derbyshire police worked with the Serious Organised Crime Agency, UK Human Trafficking Centre, Europol and the Latvian police.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Steve Roberts said: "These convictions would not have been possible without the bravery of the victims and the quick thinking of the Premier Inn staff.
"We would like to appeal to hotels in the county to look out for suspicious activity and report anything of concern to the police."