SUPPORT workers for two women rescued from the clutches of human traffickers in Glasgow have told of the "horrendous ordeals" suffered by the victims.

Today at the High Court, Glasgow, four people were convicted of trafficking offences following a police investigation that began in September 2019.

Women, from China and Thailand, were brought to Scotland on the promise of legitimate employment but instead had their passports confiscated and were forced to work in brothels across Glasgow.

Two of the women were passed to the care of staff from the Glasgow City Council-based Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) when they were freed at the end of 2019.

Bronagh Andrew, Operations Manager at TARA, said employees at the service were "absolutely delighted" that the traffickers have been brought to justice. 

Ms Andrew said: "TARA has been supporting two of the victims, both emotionally and practically, since they were freed by the police in late 2019 to early 2020. 

"They have both suffered horrendous ordeals - being exploited over several years, at the hands of the traffickers and also by the men who paid to have sex with them in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK."

Two men and two women, Jagpal Singh, 52, Vlassis Ntaoulias, 33, Boonsong Wannas, 62, and Donglin Zhang, 48, were convicted of Human Trafficking and brothel keeping offences. 

All four accused have been remanded in custody and will appear for sentencing next month.

Singh, Zhang and Ntaoulias were convicted of being involved in human trafficking while Wannas had earlier admitted the same charge.

Zhang was also found guilty of aiding or abetting prostitution.

Along with Wannas, she was further convicted of being involved in the management of a brothel.

The charges spanned between August 2018 and February 2020.

Ms Andrews said this type of sexual exploitation is facilitated by the men who pay to have sex with victims.

She added: "This exploitation is often perpetuated by those who choose to look the other way, fail to live up to their responsibilities or, worse, become actively complicit.

“Human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a despicable crime which, by its very nature, takes away a person’s right to consent and the details of this case are truly harrowing. 

"We are pleased that the long-term, intensive support provided by our team, working in close partnership with officers from Police Scotland, has enabled these brave women to obtain justice for the horrors they have endured.

"This verdict sends out a strong message to other ruthless criminals intent on abusing vulnerable women that they will not get away with it – they will end up behind bars."

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, a large scale multi-agency operation, run by Greater Glasgow Human Trafficking Unit in partnership with CFI Home Office, was carried out and a number of search warrants were executed, ultimately leading to today's conviction. 

Detective Superintendent Donna Duffy, in charge of Glasgow’s Human Trafficking Unit, said: “Human trafficking is a despicable crime that has an unmeasurable long term impact on its victims.

“We are committed to working with our partners to conduct thorough investigations, to identify those responsible and to protect their vulnerable victims from harm and these convictions demonstrate that.

“We will continue in our efforts to tackle human trafficking within the city and information from local people within our communities is key to helping us to identify those involved. 

"As such I ask that anyone with any information or who has concerns about the welfare of someone they suspect has been trafficked to contact us on 101."