Two men, including a man from Bicester, were sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Wednesday last week for human trafficking offences.
Anastassios Papas, 43, formerly of Iffley Road, Oxford, has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and Graham Cochrane, 49, from Bicester, has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for trafficking women from Romania into Oxford to become prostitutes serving clients in the city via an agency called Fun Girls in Oxford.
The men were convicted in November 2010, but Papas failed to appear for the court hearings. He was later arrested in Staines, Middlesex, in March and was remanded in custody.
Det Insp Simon Morton, who led the investigation, said it started in January 2010 after a man called police saying he had arranged for a prostitute to visit, but when she arrived she was very young.
“This was the start of a very complex and lengthy operation, which saw the two men responsible for trafficking women into the country from Romania convicted. A number of girls were rescued including three girls who were found locked in a flat in Bicester with no food and stripped of their identification. With a lot of work from my officers we gained their trust and they provided evidence for court.
“I would like to pay tribute to these women, who had the courage and strength to stand up and be counted, their evidence made the case against these vile men much stronger.
“Papas and Cochrane fully deserve their sentence. Their imprisonment has shut down one avenue of trafficking from Romania and no doubt stopped more girls becoming victims.
“It is only one avenue and we need to be vigilant; if this has happened in Oxford it will be in every city in the country. We are working with Oxford Communities Against Trafficking to raise awareness and help victims.”
Papas was convicted of trafficking women within the UK for sexual exploitation, conspiracy to traffic women within the UK for sexual exploitation and controlling prostitution for gain and converting £67,075 of criminal property.
Cochrane was convicted of conspiracy to traffic women within the UK for sexual exploitation and trafficking women into the UK for sexual exploitation.