Three people have been found guilty of exploiting vulnerable young women to work in a Staffordshire nail bar in a human trafficking operation.
Four teenage girls including two aged 17 and 18 who went missing from social services in Bath, were found to be working at the nail bar in Abbey Arcade, Burton after a joint investigation by Staffordshire Police and Avon and Somerset Police.
Viet Hoang Nguyen who's 29, known as 'Ken' - and his wife Giang Huong Tran who's 23, known as 'Susan' - both from Burton, were convicted at Stafford Crown Court this afternoon following an 8-week trial.
Thu Huong Nguyen, known as Jenny, who's 48 and from Bath was also convicted.
Cash in excess of £60,000 in £50 notes was found stuffed inside a teddy bear in a wardrobe at Thu Huong Nguyen’s home.
Viet Hoang Nguyen and Thu Huong Nguyen were remanded in custody. Giang Huong Tran was granted conditional bail.
Sentencing will take place at Stafford Crown Court on 2 January 2018.
DI Clair Langley, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This has been a significant and extensive investigation and a prime example of how police forces have to work together to target the traffickers.
“This investigation has been extremely challenging and recognition must be given to the police and prosecution teams involved across the UK regions to reach this successful outcome.
“The hard work, commitment and tenacity of the staff involved deserves great credit. We are delighted to have achieved this result and are proud that these perpetrators have now been brought to justice.”
DI Charlotte Tucker, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “This operation expanded rapidly and the national scale of the trafficking operation became clear, with links made to Bath, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire and London.
“Through detailed analysis and intelligence work we were able to connect all the defendants to each other and prove they were involved in the movement of young girls across the country to work in nail bars.
“Four victims have been identified so far, but we believe there will inevitably be more victims out there.
“These girls have had difficult and traumatic childhoods and were treated by traffickers as mere commodities – forced to live and work in unsuitable conditions, with little or no pay, and enduring both physical and verbal abuse.”
Unseen has launched a UK Modern Slavery Helpline. If you’re concerned for someone or are experiencing slavery please call 08000 121 700 for confidential advice, or you can text 21700, or visit www.modernslaveryhelpline.org