In a shocking incident, a UK police surveillance photo has revealed an Albania national handing 3,000 pounds in cash, to sell a woman as a sex slave to 2 others in London's Oxford Street.
The "merchandise", a Lithuanian girl in her 20s, was a prisoner, who was expected to earn her new owner 100,000 pounds-a-year by having sex up to 25 times a day in a brothel.
The girl was lucky, as the cops took immediate action to bust the gang of Albanian traffickers, who have now been jailed for a total of 63 years.
The girl, one of the 21 sex slaves rescued, has now gone home to her family.
Releasing the photo to raise awareness of the evil trade, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin of the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit, said: "The man is buying a human being with 3,000 pounds in cash. She is just a commodity to them. She is an item for selling sex." The man is buying the girl for his own brothel from the two men, who ran a network of nine brothels. He is simply replenishing his stock, as a shopkeeper would. These women are put into slavery and exploited in the vilest way," The Sun quoted Martin, as saying.
Martin further said that his unit has rescued 25 trafficked women this year.
"We have had people kidnapped and smuggled into the UK. Others came thinking they were working in bars, but were put to work in brothels. Their passports were taken, they were threatened - and some were systematically raped and beaten up," he said.
According to the Home Office estimates, about 4,000 women were trafficked into the UK for prostitution in 2003. Most of the women came willingly, but others were tricked here with the promise of jobs, then held captive and forced to work as sex slaves.
The issue is now worrying senior officers, as they fear that the numbers of East Europeans being trafficked is growing steeply as London prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2012.