#minorsextrafficking | Sex trafficking family from Northampton which made £20,000 a month from prostitution

A Northampton family which made over £20,000 a month by trafficking women into the Midlands for prostitution were sentenced this week. It was the first charge of modern slavery brought by Northamptonshire Police.

For two years, the family smuggled a number of women into Northampton from Europe for the purposes of prostitution. They would then take half the women’s earnings and use it to fund a lavish lifestyle for themselves.

Jamie Dunn, his father Martin Dunn, his partner Catalina Cojocaru, and her brother Andrei Cojocaru all pleaded guilty to multiple offences including human trafficking and prostitution. Two were sentenced to prison while two were given suspended sentences at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, June 14.

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Operation Eton, which was led Northants Police’s serious and organised crime team, saw the first modern slavery and human trafficking charges secured by Northamptonshire Police. The investigation found the organised crime gang was making more than £20,000 per month from the women they had trafficked.

Between November 2015 and January 2017, the group arranged for women to travel from Europe, mostly Romania, to engage in off-street prostitution. This began in Northampton and then as the business grew, they spread to Nottingham, Birmingham, and other Midlands locations.

In December 2015, Jamie Dunn, 42, from Irons Road, Lower Harlestone, placed online adverts on a sex worker website relating to up to 13 women working for the group in order to attract clients. He was also responsible for sourcing the properties that would go on to be used as brothels.

Mr Dunn’s partner, Catalina Cojocaru, 37, also from Irons Road, Lower Harlestone, was pivotal in the sourcing of women from Europe to travel to the UK as sex workers. She was the one who conducted the day-to-day running of the operations.

Police recovered lists and text messages that showed that Ms Cojocaru acted as the sex workers’ ‘boss’, having daily contact with them and keeping records of the daily takings. Evidence showed that this amount was up to £1,640 per day, with the gang taking 50 per cent from each woman.

As the investigation progressed, 26-year-old Andrei Cojocaru, of Wellingborough Road, Northampton, was found in possession of 12 mobile phones. Seven of these had the names of the sex workers written on the back so that he knew which booking was for which woman.

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He would engage with clients who thought they were communicating with the advertised women and would then direct the clients to the property. His role also included collecting the trafficked women from airports.

Jamie Dunn’s father, Martin Dunn, 74, of Compton Street, Northampton, was the financier of the gang’s early work, having recently come into a large sum of money following a house sale. He also paid for airline tickets for a number of women coming into the UK, helped collect them from airports, and also financed hotels and serviced apartments used by the sex workers.

Following the investigation, Jamie Dunn was charged with two counts of ‘conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person to the UK with a view to them being exploited, conspiring to control prostitution for gain’, and for ‘acquiring criminal property’. He was sentenced to a total of four years and nine months in prison.

Catalina Cojocaru was charged with two counts of ‘conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person to the UK with a view to them being exploited and conspiring to control prostitution for gain’. She was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

Andrei Cojocaru was handed one year in prison, suspended for 14 months plus 150 hours of unpaid work, for the offence of ‘conspiring to control prostitution for gain’. Martin Dunn was given a 12-month community order and 100 hours unpaid work for the offence of acquiring criminal property.

Senior Investigating Officer – Detective Inspector Carrie Powers, said: “This was a very complex and lengthy investigation but I am really pleased that through it. We managed to secure the Force’s first charges under modern day slavery legislation and to get guilty results for all four offenders.

The four gang members were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on June 14.
The four gang members were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on June 14.

“This organised crime gang exploited vulnerable women with the false promise of a better life in the UK. Instead, they forced them to have sex with a large number of men with no regard for their rights or welfare. These women worked long hours, only to have a large proportion of their earnings taken by the gang which would then be used to fund luxury lifestyles.

“Investigating these sort of cases may be complex but Northamptonshire Police is absolutely committed to tackling modern slavery and bringing the people who exploit vulnerable members of our community to justice.”

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. It covers a wide range of abuse and exploitation and victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality and ethnicity.

To report a suspicion of modern slavery or to seek advice, you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline confidentially on 08000 121 700. This is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can report modern slavery online or call Northamptonshire Police on 101 at any time to report an incident. Should you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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