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A sex trafficking gang has been jailed for a combined total of 89 years for bringing Romanian girls to east London for prostitution.

In the first ever joint operation with Romanian police, officers from the Met secured the convictions of twelve men and women, some as young as 21.

During Operation Toryburn officers discovered the women and girls involved were 'recruited' in Romania with the promise of legitimate paid employment in the UK, such as care or secretarial work.

Once they arrived, they told no such employment existed, their identity documents were taken by their traffickers and they were threatened and forced into prostitution in order to pay off their 'debt' in relation to travel costs.

The victims were housed at various addresses in Newham and worked in brothels throughout east London.

During the investigation police found around 115 flights booked by the organised crime group.

On March 5, a large-scale joint day of action took place simultaneously in Romania and the UK.

Ten people were arrested in Romania and remanded in custody facing charges of trafficking adults and children, setting up an organised criminal group and money laundering.

The head of the gang - 34-year-old Constantin Doicaru - had bought a club in Romania that he was using to recruit vulnerable women.

He was also driving a new BMW X6 and the remainder of the group - whilst being technically unemployed – drove expensive cars.

All the vehicles were seized by the Romanian authorities as assets bought with money made from the trafficking enterprise.

Met investigating officer Detective Constable Kieran Backhouse said: "The joint investigation team has been very successful and has meant the complete dismantling of an organised criminal group operating in two EU states to exploit vulnerable females for personal financial gain.

“The sentences handed down reflect the severity of the offending by this group.

Constantin Marius Doicaru, 34, sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment

Grigore-Alin Gornoava, 33 - 10 years' imprisonment

Dumitru Danaiata, 30 - nine years' imprisonment

Dumitru Diaconescu, 26 - seven years' imprisonment

Silviu Mihu, 23 - seven years' imprisonment

Florian Muru, 24 - seven years' imprisonment

Adelina Ardeleanu, 22 - seven years' imprisonment

Ana-Maria Dinca, 28 - seven years' imprisonment

Diana Chiritoiu, 30 - seven years' imprisonment

Bogdan-Ionut Baltatoiu, 27 - six years' imprisonment

Irina Doicaru, 26 - five years' imprisonment

Ilona Ana-Maria Schipoiu, 21 - four years' imprisonment.