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Sex traffickers used Bristol hotels to house prostitutes

By DanielEvans1  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

  • Mate Puskas

  • Victoria Brown

  • Zoltan Mohacsi

  • Peter Toth

  • Istvan Toth

Human traffickers used Bristol hotels to house Hungarian prostitutes as they forced them to offer sexual favours.

A gang that set up a network of crime across the UK has been jailed for a total of 23 years, following a Home Office investigation.

Brit Victoria Brown, Hungarians Mate Puskas, Zoltan Mohacsi, and brothers Peter and Istvan Toth, brought more than 60 women into the country via ports and airports, including Luton and Gatwick.

They then shipped the women around the country to earn money for them, including Bristol.

The Home Office has confirmed that in October 2012, the gang booked rooms in the ibis at Temple Meads Quay and the Holiday Inn Express opposite Temple Meads.

Several women stayed at those hotels for a couple of nights, providing sexual services in person or over the internet.

Later that month the gang was caught in simultaneous raids by the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations Team.

Suspicions were raised when Sussex Police referred separate incidents of prostitution to the Home Office, which were linked by Hungarian women who had travelled to the UK.

The traffickers provided transport, accompanied or chaperoned women into the UK, or financed the conspiracy by paying for flights, hotels and advertising. All the women were subjected to physical, mental or financial control by the gang.

Mainly from Budapest and south east Hungary, the Home Office said they were aware they were coming to the UK to work as prostitutes but misled about their working conditions. Clients were charged significant amounts, but the women were badly paid and overworked.

The conspiracy stretched as far north as Liverpool, to Eastbourne in the south, Norwich in the East and to Bristol

Officers found defendants operated a “switchboard” which arranged rendezvous directly with clients, via an adult services website.

The majority of the trafficked women have now returned to Hungary.

After a 10-week trial in Hove Brown, 25; Puskas, 26; and Zoltan Mohacsi, 36; all of Surrey Street, Croydon; were found guilty of control of prostitution for gain and trafficking people into the UK. Brown was jailed for three years, Puskas six and Mohacsi four.

Peter and Istvan Toth, 28 and 35, of Midway Quay, Eastbourne, were found guilty of the same charges and sentenced in their absence after absconding last September. The pair were jailed for four and five years respectively, plus nine months each for contempt of court.

All the foreign members of the gang will be subject to automatic deportation orders at the end of their sentences.

David Fairclough, from the Enforcement Criminal Investigations Team, said: “This appalling gang preyed on the vulnerability of young women who came to the UK in the hope of finding a better life. They controlled the women mentally, physically and financially.

“Any form of trafficking will not be tolerated. It is a disgusting crime and, working with our law enforcement colleagues at home and abroad, we will do all we can to stop it and bring those involved to justice.”

Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “This is an appalling case where an organised criminal gang has traded in human misery in order to make a profit. I am thankful that these criminal slave masters have been stopped and brought to justice.”

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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