Operation Pentameter 2, a six-month campaign by police forces across the country, resulted in the release of 154 women and 13 girls put to work as part of a lucrative trade dominated by organised crime gangs, which increasingly co-operate via the internet to maximise earnings from their victims.
The campaign, which saw the arrest of 528 suspected traffickers and the closure of 822 brothels and premises being used to sell sexual services, also revealed an increasing use of young British women, who are trafficked within the UK after being groomed by older men who lure them to towns away from their homes. The Home Office highlighted one recent case in Sheffield where 33 victims had been recruited by men in public places and taken away for sexual exploitation.
Most victims are foreign, with least 85 per cent of the women working as prostitutes coming from countries including Brazil, China, Lithuania and Thailand. Many victims are lured to Britain with false promises of work in bars or nightclubs only to be sold for up to £5,000, often at airports or service stations, to pimps and brothel-keepers. The women are then set quotas of the number of men they must have sex with each week, working for little or nothing under threat of violence against their families...
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