A WOMAN from Portsmouth who helped to run a ‘sexual conveyor belt’ across England and Wales has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Ting Li Lu, 47, of Portsmouth and Li Wei Gao, 44, were convicted of controlling prostitution and plotting to traffic for sexual exploitation.
They were found guilty alongside Gao’s ex-husband Hong Chin, a former boyfriend of Lu.
Gao was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Lu was jailed for 26 weeks, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work.
At a previous hearing Chin, who made more than £100,000 from the racket, was jailed for four years.
The court had heard that he ran a pit bull breeding kennel on a country estate in Esher, Surrey, where Gao lived in a converted barn with their daughter.
At the same time the pair raked in thousands of pounds through the trade in trafficking women for sex work until the operation was shut down by Sussex Police in June 2015.
They were helped by Lu, who Chin lived with in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, jurors heard.
Sussex Police were alerted to the illicit operation in February 2015 after one of the women reported being debt bonded.
Following extensive investigations, they identified 18 women from China, Hong Kong and Korea who were exploited for prostitution.
The women advertised sex services on adult websites and the contact number was handled by the defendants who would organise and notify them of jobs.
The women were sent to perform sexual services in hotels all over southern England and Wales, including Maidstone, Cardiff, Brighton, Gatwick, Eastbourne, Southampton, Woking, Exeter, Guildford, Windsor and Bournemouth.
Customers paid cash on arrival and some of it was channelled into the accounts of Chin and Gao.
In his summing up, Judge Katz described the operation as a ‘sexual conveyor belt’.
The victims have since returned to their home countries, except for one woman who gave evidence in the trial who has claimed asylum in the UK.
Chin, of Dunstall, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire; Gao, of Heathside, Oxshott, Surrey; and Lu had denied the charges.