Five people have been jailed after a “brave” woman helped the Metropolitan Police take down one of the largest modern slavery rings in England.
When Bella came to the UK aged 18, her dream was to find a better life for herself after a traumatic childhood spent between orphanages in Poland – not being sexually exploited and sold to West End clients.
Her name may have been changed to protect her anonymity, but her story of how she helped rescue 134 women trapped in five London brothels is very true.
Today, after a 10-week trial, Gregaor Borowka (44), Sebastian Zimoch (48), Michael Lozinski (52), Rafal Lacki (41) and Anna Zimoch (45) were convicted of conspiracy to organize or facilitate the travel of another person Looking at exploitation and conspiracy to control prostitution for profit.
Before her sentencing, Bella, now 21, told Metro.co.uk how the organized crime group (OCG) bosses forced her to “work like a machine all the time”.
When Bella rebelled against their orders, they beat her black and blue and starved her.
“I never wanted to be there,” she said. “The bosses weren’t good people. They beat us, they took advantage of us and stole our money.
“I had to work like a machine all the time. Sometimes I wasn’t allowed to shower because I had so many customers – one after the other.
“You have to listen to them, they control you and you have to do what they want.
“If you don’t, you’re going to get in trouble. They can hit you very hard. This has happened to me a few times. Or they won’t allow you to eat.”
While living in the brothel, her health also deteriorated. Whenever she threatened to go to the police, the bosses would say to her, ‘Who believes a prostitute?’
Like many other victims of modern slavery, Bella was an easy target for criminals as she had no family in England and had previously experienced homelessness.
Their customers were mostly much older men. Those who treated her the worst were Pakistani and Indian men who were “obsessed with young and blond Polish girls”.
Recalling painful events from the year and a half she lived in the brothel, Belle said: “I don’t really want to talk about all the customers. Some of them treated me very badly.
“The Pakistani and Indian customers treated me absolutely disgustingly. Other than that, I didn’t have much of a problem with clients, rather than with the boss I worked for.’
One afternoon she refused to provide sexual services to a client. After being told that “she didn’t deserve to eat,” Bella called 999 out of “sheer desperation and determination.”
When she tried to escape from the brothel, she was intercepted by a police car and officers helped her.
Since then she has been assisting the Met Police in their investigations into trafficking in women from Poland to the south-east of England.
Isleworth Crown Court heard Lozinski ran five brothels in west London, while Zimoch ran two more in Docklands and north-west London.
Their “business” started in 2015 and made the gang hundreds of thousands of pounds over a six-year period.
It was run by the notorious couple Sebastian and Anna Zimoch, who recruited Polish women via Facebook and promised them a better life.
Lacki was one of the main drivers for the OCG along with Borowka who also worked as a receptionist for the Golden Kiss escort service.
All of the defendants were arrested at their home addresses in February 2021, along with Lozinski, whose home served as a brothel.
Detective Inspector Esther Richardson revealed 134 women were protected “thanks to the brave and courageous lady”.
About 170 other women have been identified as potential victims of human trafficking.
It took 12 months and about 100 specially trained officers to figure out how the OCG operated. This extraordinary case then took another 10 months to be brought to justice.
“Victims of crimes like this are complex,” Ms Richardson told reporters during a briefing at Scotland Yard.
“They have often suffered years of trauma and are not necessarily identified as victims of exploitation.”
The detective said she was “satisfied” that Met police dismantled the entire criminal group.
Micheal Lozinski got seven years in prison, Sebastian Zimoch was sentenced to eight years.
Gregaor Borowka was sentenced to three years and nine months and Rafal Lacki to 18 months (already served).
Anna Zimoch got a two-year suspension for two years and 150 hours of unpaid work.
What do we know about modern slavery in the UK?
Modern slavery in the UK can take many forms, including forced sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or forced labor on farms, construction sites, shops, bars, nail salons or car washes.
According to the government, around 10,000 people are believed to be living in modern slavery in Britain.
But slavery experts say the number is much higher — up to 136,000 people.
Women and girls account for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry and 58% in other sectors.
If you suspect modern slavery, report it to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or to the police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency. Don’t leave it to someone else. Your information could save lives.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/27/london-modern-slavery-victim-brought-down-abusers-and-saved-134-women-16707876/ London: Victims of modern slavery hunted down perpetrators and rescued 134 women