Women for sale in the Gatwick slave auctions
Sex-slave gangs are making the UK their number one target
Women are being sold into prostitution in modern day “slave auctions” at Britain's airports, it emerged yesterday.
The illegal immigrants are sold to the highest bidder for up to 8,000 a time. They are then forced to work in brothels where they can earn up to 800 a day for their “owner”.
The chilling reality of human trafficking was spelled out yesterday by senior police officers at Scotland Yard.
Detective Superintendent Mark Ponting, of the Metropolitan Police, said young women from all over the world are trafficked into Britain after being promised well-paid work in bars or cafes.
But within hours of their arrival, they are sold to pimps. The youngest known girl victim was just 14.
In one notorious case, women were openly sold outside a coffee shop at Gatwick Airport.
Officers believe women are frequently raped, locked in flats and given no money to prevent them from running away from their captors.
Mr Ponting said: “There is some intelligence to suggest that individuals are sold at locations close to airports. One woman could fetch between 6,000 and 8,000. She could then earn her buyer 800 a day. It is appalling.
“These traffickers are making huge amounts of money from it and that is what we are trying to break. It has become a market.
“You have to remember the trauma and difficulties associated with this crime. Many of these women are so traumatised that it is just inconceivable they would give evidence in a trial.
“These women have been held against their will, raped many times and their lives have been ruined. That is why the courts treat this offence so seriously.”
Commander Sue Wilkinson, also of the Met, added: “This trafficking has been reported as modern day slavery. I would not argue with that.”
Scotland Yard yesterday launched a dedicated human trafficking team.
The 11-strong unit will be based in the capital and will seek to smash the gangs who force immigrants into brothels and sweatshops.