Gang boss lived in Canary Wharf luxury while women were trafficked and raped
PUBLISHED: 16:12 16 June 2014
A gang leader who trafficked women and forced them into prostitution—often after they were raped—is facing a long stretch behind bars after a record five month trial.
Vishal Chaudhary and his henchmen learn their fate when they return to court after being found guilty of conspiracy to traffic women for sex and for controlling prostitution.
Choudhary, at 35, lived off the proceeds of his crimes in a plush Canary Wharf apartment block in Pan Peninsula Square and drove a Mercedes convertible, enjoying a wealthy lifestyle.
His gang enticed 120 women to Britain, some as young as 18—where many were raped before being forced into prostitution.
He ran a lurid network of brothels, including one in the East End, its location still under wraps by Scotland Yard “for operational reasons”.
The women were enticed from eastern Europe with adds offering work for what they believed were administrative posts or cleaning and babysitting jobs.
Flights were booked for them, while others were simply picked up at Stansted airport and hustled into his brothels, often forced into sex with up to 20 men a day.
They were threatened with violence and intimidated with warnings of harm to their families back home, while the gang kept their passports to exert control.
“The women have been traumatised by what this gang did to them,” Det Sgt Alan Clark said this week. “They found themselves trapped at the mercy of this gang who applied cold business mentality to their crime and treated women as a commodity.
“The women often weren’t even aware of the sex services they were expected to give.”
The brothel network was run from a makeshift call centre in a house owned by Choudhury in north London, with 40 mobile phones used to arrange bookings on a commercial scale and four laptop computers logged onto a website offering sex.
The trial at Croydon Crown Court was the longest for a trafficking case ever investigated by the Met Police.
Choudhary was found guilty along with four other gang-members on conspiracy charges. Sentencing is on a date to be set.
Choudhary’s chief henchman, Kristian Abel, 33, a Hungarian living in Green Lane, Ilford, admitted before the trial to three charges of conspiracy to trafficking and controlling prostitution—he was the enforcer who threatened and abused the girls if they didn’t obey.
The trial ended last month, but full details only emerged after another trial finished last Wednesday in which a defendant admitted conspiracy.
Police have been responsible this month alone for putting away 25 members of organised Russian and Romanian gangs operating across London. Terms handed down by the courts total 110 years so far—with Choudhary’s gang sentences yet to come.