Gang leader who trafficked more than 100 women to Britain is jailed for 31 years
Vishal Chaudhary, who lived in a luxury flat and drove a Mercedes, controlled his victims from a makeshift call centre
Charlotte Philby is a writer at The Independent with a weekly column on motherhood in The Independent Magazine. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp award for excellence in popular journalism for her undercover investigative work, and writes for various cultural magazines.
Wednesday 02 July 2014
The leader of a gang that trafficked more than 100 women to Britain has been jailed for 31 years as a judge condemned the “misery and degradation” its members inflicted on their victims.
Five people – including a senior manager at Deloitte, the accountancy and consulting giant – were jailed for a total of 70 years after being found guilty of luring women to the UK, where they were forced into prostitution to work as “sexual slaves”.
The ring was led by Vishal Chaudhary, 35, who lived in a luxury Canary Wharf apartment in Pan Peninsula Square until days before his arrest last year. The Indian national drove a convertible Mercedes and used a series of pseudonyms including Rahul Singh and Aresh Khan.
He was assisted by his brother Kunal Chaudhary, 32, who helped traffic women while working as a senior accountant at Deloitte in Manchester.
During a five-month trial jurors heard how the brothers and three others trafficked women from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. The victims, some as young as 18, were duped by online adverts for jobs in administration, looking after children or cleaning. Some were approached on Hungarian social networking sites.
What they experienced in Britain was so horrific that a court interpreter was brought to tears. At any one time the gang had 10 or 11 brothels in operation.
Detective Sergeant Alan Clark of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit told The Independent: “The pain some of these women have suffered is incomprehensible, both emotionally and physically”.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Gower said that Vishal Chaudary had a “ruthless” attitude towards women. “This operation was on a massive scale and persisted from 2007 to the end of January 2013. It was a network that over a period of six years exploited hundreds of women.”
The gang managed their victims from a makeshift call centre in a semi-detached house on a suburban street in Hendon, north London. Victims had their passports taken away and were threatened with further abuse if they tried to contact their families. Some were made to have sex with up to 20 men a day.
Krisztian Abel, a 33-year-old Hungarian national, acted as enforcer. The court heard that on one occasion, Abel forced a victim in her twenties to carry out brutal sex acts with clients which left her with serious injuries, as a punishment after she discovered the address of the brothel where she was being held.
Abel’s sister, Szilvia Abel, 24, was arrested in Budapest and extradited to Britain where she was also found guilty of various counts of conspiracy to traffic women for sexual exploitation and prostitution.
A jury at Croydon Crown Court was told that 120 flights had been booked to bring victims to the UK. Other women were picked up at Stansted airport by handlers who would deliver them to brothels in Barnet, Waltham Forest, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Brent, Westminster, Enfield, Hounslow, Islington, and Kensington and Chelsea.
Vishal Chaudhary was found guilty on three counts relating to trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and prostitution. He received three sentences amounting to 31 years. Police will work with the UK Border Force to enforce his deportation once his sentence is served.
Krisztian Abel was sentenced to 26 years, and his sister Szilvia to four and a half years. Another man, Attila Kovacs, 33, was sentenced to six years.
Kunal Chaudhary successfully applied for British citizenship while an employee of Deloitte, having come to this country as a student in 2002. The judge gave him three sentences amounting to eight years and 18 months in prison for trafficking and concealing criminal property.
Deloitte confirmed that Kunal Chaudhary had worked at its Spinningfields office in Manchester. A spokesperson added: “As soon as the charges were confirmed he was suspended without pay and following his conviction he was dismissed without notice.”
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