Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

The gang members used violence and control of victims' earnings

ilford brothers
Ilford brothers jailed for 28 years (Image: Met Police)

Three Romanian brothers who were members of an organised crime gang in Ilford have been sentenced to a total of 28 years.

Valentin Lupu, 25, Grigore Lupu, 39 and Alexandru Lupu, 43, were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday (June 21) after being found guilty of modern slavery and Proceeds of Crime Act offences.

The court heard how between July 2015 and October 2018 the three men worked with other unknown gang members to traffic victims into the UK in order to exploit them within the construction industry.

Victims were often tricked into travelling with the promise of being paid £500 every 30 days.

When they arrived they their identity cards would be taken and would be forced to live in overcrowded, badly kept houses in East London .

ilford brothers sleep
Conditions that victims were forced to sleep in (Image: Met Police)

The convicted brothers would then forge construction qualification documents and put victims to work at a number of building sites across London and the home counties.

The gang members would use violence and control of victims earnings to ensure the victims remained subservient.

Over the course of three years the brothers generated more than £1.2 million by keeping victims' wages.

On Tuesday October 16 2018, 15 search warrants were executed simultaneously between Romania and London in a closely co-ordinated effort by officers from the Met’s modern slavery and kidnap unit and officers from the Brigade for Combating Organised Crime, Vrancea County, Romania in a bid to arrest offenders and recover assets.

A total of 33 potential victims of human trafficking (24 men, four women, and five children) were recovered from four of the London addresses and taken into safety.

ilford brothers image
(Image: Met Police)

The arrest phase marked the latter stages of the three-year international operation, codenamed 'Operation Cardinas'.

The work was also supported by the Romanian Embassy in London as well as numerous charities and organisations supporting victims of modern slavery, including the Salvation Army and Medaille Trust.

The gang were charged with the offences between the October 17, 2018 and February 20, 2019.

Valentin Lupu of Perth Road, and Grigore Lupu of Wellesley Road, both in Ilford, was convicted of conspiracy to require another to perform forced or compulsory labour, conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another with a view to exploitation and conspiracy to convert criminal property.

They were both sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

Alexandru Lupu of Neville Road, Ilford was convicted of conspiracy to require another to perform forced or compulsory labour and conspiracy to convert criminal property.

He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

Detective Inspector Rick Sewart, from the Met's modern slavery and kidnap unit, said: "Modern slavery is, and will continue to be, a priority for the Met.

"We will continue to do everything within our power to identify and apprehend those intent on trafficking human beings, and exploiting them for their own gain.

"The key partnerships between the Met, the Romanian authorities, Europol, Eurojust and all of our other partners have been crucial to furthering this investigation into organised people trafficking and exploitation.

"We will continue this valuable work with our international and domestic partners to prevent continued exploitation and bring offenders to justice."

All three men have also been issued with slavery and trafficking prevention orders and will be subject to asset recovery procedures targeting property in Romania, vehicles and cash assets accrued through their offending.

Article from: https://www.mylondon.news/news/east-london-news/criminal-gang-brothers-ilford-slavery-16470100