Detectives smashed gang behind Northampton prostitution ring in county’s landmark modern slavery case

Family members lived luxury lifestyles with money from women working in town brothels

Friday, 24th June 2022, 10:08 am

Northampton detectives say convictions for four people running a prostitution ring is a landmark in the fight against modern slavery.

Operation Eton led to the first modern slavery and human trafficking charges secured by Northamptonshire Police and involved an organised crime gang making more than £20,000 per month from women they had trafficked into the country.

Northampton Crown Court heard earlier this month how the four, all from the same family, were jailed after an investigation by Serious and Organised Crime Team officers uncovered women travelling from Europe to engage in off-street prostitution in the town.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Jamie Dunn, aged 42, Catalina Cojocaru, aged 37, have been imprisoned for their leading roles in setting up a Midlands prostitution ring.

Detective Inspector Carrie Powers, who led the investigation, admitted: “This was a very complex and lengthy investigation but I am really pleased that through it, we managed to secure the Force’s first charges under modern day slavery legislation and to get guilty results for all four offenders.

“This organised crime gang exploited vulnerable women with the false promise of a better life in the UK.

“These women worked long hours, only to have a large proportion of their earnings taken by the gang which would then be used to fund luxury lifestyles.

“Investigating these sort of cases is complex but Northamptonshire Police is absolutely committed to bringing people who exploit vulnerable members of our community to justice.”

The four who all pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing were:

■ Jamie Dunn, aged 42, of Irons Road, Lower Harlestone, jailed for four years, nine months.

■ His partner, Catalina Cojocaru, 37, also of Irons Road, Lower Harlestone, jailed for three years, nine months.

■ Her brother, Andrei Cojocaru, 26, of Wellingborough Road, Northampton, jailed for a year suspended for 14 months plus 150 hours unpaid work.

■ Jamie’s father, Martin Dunn, 74, of Compton Street, Northampton, was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work.

Detectives dicovered women travelling mostly from Romania between November 2015 and January 2017, initially to Northampton and then to Nottingham, Birmingham and other Midlands’ locations as the business grew.

In December 2015, Jamie Dunn placed online adverts on a sex worker website relating to up to 13 women working for the group. He was also responsible for sourcing the properties to be used as brothels.

Catalina Cojocaru’s role was pivotal in sourcing women from Europe to travel to the UK but detectives also recovered lists and text messages showing she acted as the sex workers’ ‘boss’ keeping records of their takings.

Andrei Cojocaru was later found with 12 mobile phones, seven of which had names of the sex workers written on the back so he knew which booking was for which woman.

Martin Dunn was the source of the initial finance outlay, having recently come into a large sum of money following a house sale.

He also paid for airline tickets, ferried them from airports and financed hotels and apartments used by the sex workers.

To report a suspicion of modern slavery or to seek advice, contact the modern slavery helpline confidentially on 08000 121 700 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; Northamptonshire Police on 101; or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.