Romanian father, son convicted of sex trafficking, forced prostitution in UK

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

A father and son from Romania have been found guilty of a string of prostitution-related offences in the United Kingdom. For four years, Marius "Mario" Nejloveanu and father Bogdan trafficked women into and around the UK, forcing their victims into prostitution. Nejloveanu, 23, was also convicted of a series of rapes and headed the business with guidance from his 51-year-old father.

Five women were lured from Romania, the youngest in her teens, the oldest 27, with promises of work and romance with Marius. Originally founding a brothel in their hometown of Birmingham, the pair met resistance from local rival pimps and relocated the women to Manchester. There, they worked six or seven days each week, sleeping in brothels and having sex with eight-to-ten men each night against their will.

Typical fees from customers were around £40 but some may have paid as low as £10. Around half of each fee went to the Nejloveanus and half to the brothel. Police launched raids, rescuing the women after receiving a tip-off.

Bogdan was accused by Rachel Smyth, prosecuting, of giving advice and assistance to Marius; Smyth opened the trial last year telling Manchester Crown Court "[h]aving heard the evidence you [the jury] may conclude that the son, Marius, learnt this trade from his father and that this was a family business." The woman were "threatened, beaten and degraded" and faced "extreme sexual violence and humiliation," the court heard.

Bogdan was convicted of seven offences - three counts of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation, three counts of trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation and controlling prostitution for gain. Marius was found guilty of five counts of trafficking women into the UK for sexual exploitation, one count of conspiracy to traffic a woman into the UK for sexual exploitation, two counts of trafficking women within the UK for sexual exploitation, one count of trafficking a woman out of the UK for sexual exploitation, four counts of rape, five counts of assault, two counts of causing a woman to engage in sexual activity without consent, five counts of controlling prostitution for gain, and one count of witness intimidation to total 27 offences.

The duo join two others who admitted lesser roles in the scheme. Costel Maruntelu, 24, was previously jailed for five years and six months for sex trafficking crimes. Juanita "Toni" Huntingdon, 41, helped set up the Birmingham brothel and acted as a receptionist at both sites and entered guilty pleas to five counts of controlling prostitution for gain. Huntingdon and the Nejloveanus will be sentenced on Wednesday.