Could you spot signs of human trafficking?
Police are asking people to help spot the signs of modern slavery and human trafficking after members of the public helped identify a prostitution and trafficking ring.
Meyrick Bramhill-Purchase and Mo Quan Zhou were yesterday jailed for their parts in running nine brothels across Derby, Chesterfield and Lincoln and trafficking women around the country.
Investigating officers are thanking the members of the public who came forward with information which ultimately led to the discovery of the brothels and subsequent investigation.
The investigation began in May 2015 when a concerned letting agent called Lincolnshire police to report suspicions that a house in Friars Lane, Lincoln, was being used as a brothel.
Officers launched an inquiry which unearthed evidence of nine brothels; two in Derby, two in Chesterfield and five in Lincoln. Vulnerable Chinese and Malaysian women were found at the houses, having been trafficked around the country.
A man who visited one brothel in London Road, Derby, called police when he became concerned that the woman in the house had been trafficked.
Following a ten-week trial, Zhou (45), of London Road, Derby, was jailed for five-and-a-half years yesterday while Bramhill-Purchase (64), of Muntjac Way, Witham St Hughs, was handed a four-and-a-half year sentence.
Zhou was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another with a view to sexual exploitation, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another with a view to exploitation, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain and removing criminal property.
Bramhill-Purchase was found guilty of conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another with a view to exploitation, conspiracy to control prostitution for gain and removing criminal property.
Inspector Harry Rai said: “Thanks to people coming forward with information, and the hard work of investigators, both men have now been convicted.
“These brothels were set up in our communities and residents may have seen an increase in activity around the houses; people coming and going at all times of the day and night. In this case, the letting agent did the right thing in reporting their suspicions.
“It’s information like this that I would ask people to pass on to the police so we can investigate. We need the help of our communities to identify modern slavery and in turn, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”
For more information about modern slavery and human trafficking, how to spot the signs and who to contact, visit : http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice/Personal-Safety/Modern-Slavery-and-Human-Trafficking/Modern-Slavery-and-Human-Trafficking.aspx