Cheltenham man jailed for trafficking women from Brazil

cheltenham man jailed for trafficking women from brazil - Cheltenham man jailed for trafficking women from BrazilImage copyright SWROCU
Image caption (L-R) Mark Viner, Lezlie Davies and Rosana Gomes were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court

A man has been jailed for more than five years for trafficking women from Brazil to work in a brothel.

Mark Viner, 62, was extradited from his villa near Barcelona last year after a two-year police investigation uncovered the brothel in Cheltenham.

He admitted two counts of human trafficking and one count of keeping a brothel.

Lezlie Davies, 61, and 45-year-old Rosana Gomes admitted assisting in managing the brothel.

Davies, of Millennium Plaza in Cheltenham, and Gomes, of High Six Gardens in Patchway, Bristol, were also sentenced at Bristol Crown Court and both received 12-month community orders.

They were also placed under a 10-week curfew and were ordered to pay £500 costs.

A confiscation order was made for Gomes to pay £18,000 that she made through arranging women’s appointments at the brothel.

Police said Viner was able to fund a lavish lifestyle on a “modest income” having rented three penthouse apartments at Millennium Plaza in Cheltenham.

He used one as his former home, one as a brothel and another where Davies lived.

Gomes acted as the brothel’s receptionist, managing the bookings.

Image copyright SWROCU
Image caption Viner rented three penthouse apartments at Millennium Plaza in Cheltenham

Viner was arrested in Spain in October and extradited to the UK.

He was jailed for five years and nine months and also faces Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings.

He admitted two counts of human trafficking, one count of keeping a brothel for prostitution and one count of laundering the proceeds of other criminal activity to the value of £388,000.

Det Insp Peter Highway, from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, said it was believed hundreds of women, the majority of them Brazilian, had worked there.

“When we tracked some of them down who had moved on to work in brothels in other areas of the country, they gave accounts of being raped at knifepoint and robbed by groups of organised criminals while in the UK,” he said.

“That is the very dark world traffickers like Mark Viner are bringing women into and it’s why it’s so important we continue to break the cycle.”

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