Nneka Akudolu KC prosecutes family members convicted of Human Trafficking and Controlling Prostitution for Gain
Francisc Lazaroiu began an online relationship with the 19-year old victim whilst she was living in her native Romania. He invited her to come and live with him and his parents in the UK whilst promising her that he could secure her a job working at Pandora Jewellery. The victim arrived in the UK in October 2022. Within a matter of weeks, she had been put to work as a prostitute by Francisc Lazaroiu and his parents Antonio Lazaroiu and Florina Ion. The victim’s identity documents were taken from her and she was moved around the Country and forced to engage in sexual activity with ‘many clients’. The defendants advertised her services on a website called ‘vivastreet’ and threatened to kill her if she tried to leave. Seven months after her arrival in the UK and by this time living with the defendants in Birmingham, the victim managed to escape the Lazaroiu family home and reported them to the police. The defendants were arrested whilst attempting to board a Ferry from the Loch Ryan Port in Cairnryan, Scotland that was bound for Belfast.
The defendants pleaded not guilty, claiming that they were unaware that the victim was working as a prostitute.
After a 4-week trial at the Birmingham Crown Court, all three defendants were convicted of Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons within the UK with a view to exploitation and Conspiracy to control prostitution for gain. They were sentenced yesterday to 8 years imprisonment.
Nneka led Heather Stangoe of 23 Essex Street Chambers and was instructed by Alicia Perry, CPS West Midlands.
Media Links: Birmingham Mail