Scotland Yard has in an undercover operation foiled the plans of a sex trafficking gang to sell the virginity of underage girls to wealthy businessmen for up to 150,000 pounds each.
Three women and a man were caught and arrested for offering girls as young as 13 after staff at a luxury hotel tipped off the police.
AdvertisementThe incident came to light when one of the women arrived at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge, central London, to offer the gang's services in a handwritten letter to the owner in August last year.
"I have 12 girls ready from the age 14-20 years, who are living all over the UK, I have spent money on the preparation of this event such as a rented house for the girls and also all expenses needed," the Daily Mail quoted the letter as reading.
Staff immediately alerted police, who traced the car the woman came in and the telephone number given in the letter to an address in Wigan, where Fatima Hagnegat, 24, and her husband, Rassoul Gholampour lived.
Detectives then exchanged messages with the gang under the guise of potential clients, and one undercover officer telephoned the mobile number provided in the letter to ask about hiring girls on behalf of a client.
The officer, named Cameron, spoke to Hagnegat's aunt, Marohkh Jamali, 41, and she told him that she could arrange a party for four to five people that night if required.
She also stated that she could provide girls from Iran, England and Eastern Europe aged 14 and 20.
The officer arranged to meet Jamali who told him some of her girls were virgins and could be "broken" by his client.
She emailed him photographs of a number of girls and said she would bring up to five girls to London, including two 13-year-olds, and would expect 50,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds for each.
The next day Jamali went to a different London hotel, in Bayswater, accompanied by Hagnegat and six girls, two were aged 14 and 17, while the other four were 18 or older.
Jamali and Hagnegat were arrested from the hotel and the victims, who had all been brought to London from the North-West of England and cannot be identified for legal reasons, were taken to a victims' centre.
The gang members, who are all jobless and Iranian, pleaded guilty to trafficking and prostitution offences at Harrow Crown Court.
Hagnegat and Jamali, who is from North-West London, each admitted conspiracy to traffic persons within the UK for sexual exploitation and a second charge of control of prostitution for gain.
A 43-year-old woman, who owned the London flat where the victims were taken the night before they were introduced to Cameron, admitted the same two charges. She cannot be named for legal reasons.
Gholampour, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic persons within the UK for sexual exploitation.
A third charge of conspiracy to arrange the prostitution of children will lie on the file of all four defendants.
The four-gang members, who have been in custody since their arrest last year, will be sentenced on September 14.