Three jailed for trafficking women to work in brothels across Scotland

A string of women - mainly from East Asia - were exploited by the crime gang to provide sexual services in Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout the UK.

Three jailed for trafficking women to work in brothels across Glasgow and Edinburgh Police Scotland

Three people involved in lucrative sex-for-sale flats where women had been trafficked to work have been jailed for a total of more than 20 years.

Xiao Min, 38, Qin Huang, 31, Guolei Huang, 35, were caught as part of the joint Police Scotland and Home Office probe Operation Fasthold.

A string of women – mainly from East Asia – were exploited by a sophisticated crime mob to provide sexual services in Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout the UK.

The trio were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

Min was jailed for eight and a half years after he earlier pleaded guilty to a charge under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act which included the “aiding and abetting of prostitution”.

Qin Huang was sentenced to eight years after she admitted to the same crime.

The charge spanned between December 2018 and September 2021.

Guolei Huang was locked up for four years and three months. He had previously pleaded guilty to being involved in the management of a brothel at three of the flats.

Qin Huang sobbed heavily as she was led handcuffed to the cells. Guolei Huang shouted loudly in his native language as he went downstairs.

Prosecutor Greg Farrell told the court last month: “Police uncovered a sophisticated and significant criminal network who were arranging, recruiting and facilitating prostitution.

“This also involved the transporting and harbouring of women working as prostitutes.”

Mr Farrell added the crime clan raked in “significant financial proceeds” with the help of fake identifies to rent flats used as brothels.

The court heard how £200,000 had been spent on adverts on the Viva Street adult site by a so-called “business agency” firm.

Mr Farrell: “There is no evidence to suggest any of the three provided the financing for these.”

He said Qin Huang’s was involved in the “daily management” of the women and the sex for sale properties.

She also helped organise the online adverts.

Guolei Huang was a “minder” while Min had a “supervisor” role in the renting of the properties.

In February 2020, police learned a flat in Dennistoun was being run as what was described as a “Chinese brothel”.

Officers carried out a raid months later – Guolei Huang was there along with one of the trafficked women.

Another brothel was discovered at a flat in the city’s Garnethill as well two more in Glasgow – in Dennistoun and Port Dundas – with one in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

In May 2021, it was then found that Qin Huang was operating from a new premises for “sexual exploitation” in Townhead.

There was a further sex-for-sale flat in the city’s Kelvinbridge.

The court heard of five women who were brought to the UK by the gang.

Two were in debt in China, another was “recruited” having been approached in a casino while a fourth had her passport taken from her before being helped to “establish” as a sex worker.

A fifth woman said she arrived in England in 2019 and had been working “illegally” there before being “recommended” to travel to Scotland.

The court heard Min originally entered the UK illegally and had been living in South London.

His KC Thomas Ross said he had got involved in the crime having got himself into debt.

Qin Huang had come to this country on a student visa, was a failed asylum seeker and had been living off £140 per-week benefits.

The court heard she believed a number of the women involved had “consented” to what they were doing.

But, Huang’s lawyer Mark Moir KC said she “understood” this charge was “serious”. She also owed money to others in China.

Guolei Huang had come to Britain in 2018. He had been arrested in a brothel in Liverpool.

Iain McSporran KC, defending, said it appeared he did not see the women involved as “victims” and that they were “ladies engaging in this work voluntarily”.

Mr McSporran added Guolei Huang maintained he does not know the other two in the dock with him.

Prosecutors have moved for Serious Crime Prevention Orders – known as a ‘super-Asbo’ – to be made against all three.

These are designed to tackle and monitor the activities of criminals once they back on the streets.

A hearing for that to be decided will call next month.

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