purea and balog
Stephan Balog (R) was sentenced to four years in prison while Daniel Purea (L) was jailed for eight years. Met Police

Two men who trafficked a Romanian teenager to the UK and forced her to work as a prostitute for free have been jailed after the victim sent a series of desperate messages to her mother.

The 19-year-old woman was forced to pay all her earnings to traffickers Daniel Purea, 33, and Stephan Balog, 22, after they had organised a passport and paid for her travel to the UK.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Purea had arranged for a set of glamour photos to be taken then advertised her on London escort websites as a prostitute.

The two men, from Knaresborough Place, Kensington, told their victim that she owed them £2,000 and even though she had paid the debt "many times over" they still kept every penny she earned.

The court heard that the pair would not let her sleep at night in case a client called to have sex with her.

The woman was eventually freed by London's Metropolitan Police (Met) after she sent messages to her mother in her home country telling her how she had been enslaved.

Both men were convicted of controlling prostitution following a two-week trial, while Purea, was also found guilty of human trafficking by arranging and facilitating the travel of another person with a view to sexual exploitation. He was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.

Balog, who helped transfer the profits of the enterprise, was also found guilty of transferring criminal property contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act and got four years jail.

The Met's Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit raided an address in Kensington in July 2017 after receiving information that a woman was being controlled as a prostitute.

The court heard that a number of ledgers were found, including details of clients, fees and payments and Purea and Balog were arrested at the scene.

Detective Inspector Brian Hobbs, of the Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit, said in a statement: "This vulnerable woman was trafficked to the UK from Romania, then these two men controlled and exploited her.

"She was not allowed to sleep at night in case a client called, and had to surrender all her earnings to Purea.

"Due to effective working partnerships with Romanian Authorities and the NCA, Met officers acted swiftly to safeguard the victim and arrest the two defendants.

"This case demonstrates our commitment to prosecuting those responsible for human trafficking and modern slavery offences."