Albanian connection to the teenage sex slaves in London

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The Independent Online

The Romanian girl was 15 when she was smuggled into Britain. She arrived in Dover, via Brussels and Ostend, on a hovercraft in July 2001 and was met at Victoria station and taken to a flat in north-west London. A day later, a man named Mustapha Kadiu, 31, arrived and made the girl, later known in court as Miss X, phone saunas and massage parlours to work as a prostitute.

Kadiu, an Albanian who persuaded her to travel to Britain to start a new life, threatened to kill her if she failed to earn between £400 and £500 a day, charging £30 for straight sex.

After three months of sexual slavery in London she escaped and went to police. Kadiu was arrested and convicted of raping her, indecently assaulting her and of living off immoral earnings. He was sentenced last December to 10 years in prison.

The plight of the Romanian teenager is an example of the growing power of Albanian pimps in London and of the booming sex trade involving girls and women from eastern Europe smuggled to the West. The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) says many of the people who are trafficked into Britain enter the vice trade. Others work as cheap labour in illicit sweatshops producing counterfeit goods or are brought in by Chinese "snakehead" gangs to work in restaurants.

Most of those who end up in the vice industry are victims of "some form of deception, and exploit the lack of opportunities open to women in source countries", the NCIS says in its assessment of serious and organised crime.

Traffickers advertise in local newspapers abroad offering jobs as maids, nannies, bar and catering staff, receptionists, clerical staff, dancers and entertainers. Even the women who knowingly get involved in vice are told they will be able to keep their profits.

Women from countries in the former Soviet Union and Balkan regions are increasingly the victims of kidnap by the traffickers, NCIS says. "In some rural areas of the Balkans, the fear of kidnap is such that families keep adolescent girls at home rather than send them to school or work."

Traffickers use extreme violence, including rape, to control victims. "In some instances, women have been killed and their bodies dumped in public places as an example," NCIS adds. In Britain, traffickers strip victims of all documents so they cannot work elsewhere. Some threaten to tell their families they are prostitutes.

Over the past decade, violent Albanian criminals have taken control of 75 per cent of prostitution in Soho. Scotland Yard estimates that last year criminals made £61m from 15 people-smuggling operations that police detected.