Fatima Hagnegat, Marohkh Jamali and Rasoul Gholampour convicted for sex trade trafficking in London, England

A gang who trafficked underage girls to London to sell them for sex yesterday (13 September) pleaded guilty to trafficking and prostitution offences at Harrow Crown Court.

The three women and a man were arrested in September 2009 following an undercover operation by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9).

On 3 August 2009 one of the defendants, Fatima Hagnegat, drove to the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, in a silver BMW and delivered a handwritten note to reception.

The note was addressed to the owner of the hotel.

It read:

‘My name is Mary and I have been in contact with one of your assistant in Dubai since 06.06.09 with the regards of your trip to London. I have 12 girls ready from the age 14-20 years, who are living all over the UK, I have spent money on the preparation of this event such as a rented house for the girls and also all expenses needed, I have done this as you assistant told us that you would be in the UK in July. If you could contact me please as I have more to say in regards with this message with evidence to prove what I am writing. Could you please give me 5 minutes of your time or at least a text message? Please, please, Mary. Contact Number: XXXXXXXXXXX. Please my life is dependant on your call.’

Concerned hotel staff immediately alerted police who traced the car and telephone to an address in Wigan where Fatima Hagnegat, lived with her husband, Rassoul Gholampour.

Enquires revealed that another letter had been delivered to the hotel on an earlier date. This letter was similar in content but did not refer to the age of the girls available for the event.

On 2 September 2009 an undercover officer, known as "Cameron", telephoned the mobile number provided in the letter to enquire about hiring girls on behalf of a client. He spoke to Hagnegat’s aunt, Marohkh Jamali, who told him that she could arrange a party for four to five people that night if required. She stated that she could provide girls from Iran, England and Eastern Europe. The girls would be aged between 14 and 20 years-old.

On 9 September Cameron met Jamali at the Lancaster London hotel in Bayswater Road.

(N.B. The hotel was in no way linked to the defendants).

At this meeting Jamali said she could provide girls between the ages of 14 and 20 years old for sex. She stated that some of her girls were virgins and could be "broken" by Cameron’s client. She stated that a number of these girls were available for full sex, including anal. She asked Cameron for his e-mail address so she could send him photographs of the girls.

Over the next fortnight, Cameron received 28 e-mails which included pictures of a number of girls aged 14-years-old and upwards. The e-mails said they were available for a variety of sexual services.

On 29 September Cameron contacted Jamali to arrange a further meeting so that he could meet the girls in the e-mails. Jamali said she would bring four or five girls to London, including two 13-year-olds. When asked about the prices she said she would expect at least £50,000 and as much as £150,000 for each girl. The conversation ended with her arranging to meet Cameron with the girls at the Lancaster London hotel.

The next day Jamali went to the hotel accompanied by Hagnegat and six other girls, two of whom were aged 14 years and 17 years. The other four were 18-years or older.

Shortly after they arrived, Jamali and Hagnegat were arrested by officers from SCD9. The six victims were taken to a victims’ centre. They later described how they had travelled from Wigan to London with the defendants on the understanding that they would be able to earn some money "dancing" for a party of rich men. It was only later, on their arrival in London, that they were told they may be asked to have sex with the men.

Officers carried out searches at a number of addresses including Hagnegat’s Wigan home, where her husband, Rassoul Gholampour, was arrested. A 43-year-old woman, who owned the London flat where the victims were taken the night before they were introduced to Cameron, was also arrested. She cannot be named for legal reasons.

Yesterday, 13 September, at Harrow Crown Court, the defendants pleaded guilty to the following charges:

Fatima Hagnegat, 24, unemployed, of Wigan

Marohkh Jamali, 41, unemployed of London

A 43-year-old woman, pleaded guilty to:

= conspiracy to traffic persons within the UK for sexual exploitation

= control of prostitution for gain

Rasoul Gholampour, 30, unemployed of Wigan, pleaded guilty to:

= conspiracy to traffic persons within the UK for sexual exploitation

Welcoming the pleas, Detective Chief Supt Richard Martin, head of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command said: "This is a sad and harrowing case that involved the main defendants effectively selling the virginity of girls as young as 13 for as much as £150,000.

"It is thanks to diligence of the hotel staff in the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel that this ruthless gang was caught.

"This case highlights the fact that trafficking is not just a crime that involves foreign nationals being brought in the UK. It is something that happens within the UK as well.

"We hope that this result will encourage any other potential victims to come forward and speak with police who may have felt that they couldn’t do so before.

"Anyone who feels they may have been a victim in similar circumstances should contact the Metropolitan Police Service or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they wish to remain anonymous."

All four will be sentenced today (14 September) at Harrow Crown Court.

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