Hungarian sex trafficking gang arrested
Zsolt Blaga and Jeno Burai were linked to the trafficking and sexual exploitation of as many as 250 women at around 50 brothels in London and PeterboroughPolice handout

A Hungarian gang, who sexually exploited more than 250 women, have been jailed for over 55 years.

The gang members were arrested after one of their victims, who had been repeatedly raped and forced to sleep with 10 men a day, escaped a brothel and managed to go to the police.

The woman, now 26, had initially embarked on a relationship with Jeno Burai, 30, in Hungary. However, police said Burai was grooming her for exploitation and he soon became abusive, beating and threatening to kill her. He then forced her to work as a prostitute in Hungary and Austria before he brought her to the UK in July 2013.

It was at a brothel on Star Road in Peterborough that she was made to sleep with more than 10 men a day. Burai reportedly then sold her to Hungarian national Zsolt Blaga, 38, in Peterborough, in order to settle a debt.

He told Blaga - also known as "Snake" in criminal circles - to beat the victim if she did not do as she was told. Blaga took her to a brothel in Church Road, Newham in October 2013, where he raped her twice and forced her to have sex with men.

On 31 October 2013, the victim was left alone in the house, and she used the opportunity to escape. She climbed over the back garden fence and managed to make her way to Ilford Police Station where she reported the abuse.

Between June and July 2014, police executed search warrants and arrested 11 people - seven men and four women - including Blaga and Burai.

It was after an extensive joint investigation with Hungarian police, that Blaga and Burai were linked to a much wider criminal network.

The gang members were linked to the trafficking and sexual exploitation of as many as 250 women at around 50 brothels in London and Peterborough.

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court, Blaga was sentenced to 14 years, while Burai was given six years and eight months.

The remainder of the gang have been jailed for a total of 34 years and six months. Eight of the gang were convicted of trafficking and charges relating to prostitution. Three were convicted with prostitution-related charges only. Blaga was also convicted of rape.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer said: "The victim's courage in escaping the gang and telling police about what happened to her has ultimately resulted in this international investigation and the gang being jailed.

"I hope that this will give other victims of exploitation the courage to come forward and seek the help of our specially trained officers."

CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey said: "This sophisticated and commercial scale operation is one of the largest ever prosecuted by CPS London.

"While in many cases the women were voluntarily working in prostitution, they were trafficked here to be exploited and controlled, with the women having to give up to half of their earnings for the privilege of working in a house or brothel run by the defendants.

"One of the girls was trafficked against her will and raped by one of the individuals sentenced today and I would like to applaud her courage in reporting this to the police and giving evidence during the trial."

Victims of exploitation and trafficking can call the national helpline on 0800 0121 700.