Three women and two men who were part of an organised crime gang arranging the travel of sex workers from Europe to Norwich have been jailed.

Attila Lakatos, 44, Katalin Bogdan, 33, Laszlo Peter, 35, Livia Rezmuves, 25, and Csilla Varga, 35, had been facilitating the movement of sex workers to Norwich - and other parts of the country - from Hungary.

Eastern Daily Press:

Norwich Crown Court heard a phone belonging to Lakatos contained 12,000 messages relating to "adult sex workers" who they had arranged to bring over to Norfolk and other parts of the country, including Birmingham.

Eastern Daily Press:

An investigation was launched following a visit by police and support workers to three addresses in Norwich in 2021 after concerns about vulnerable sex workers.

It was discovered they organised the travel of prostitutes as well as advertised their services on the internet.

Benedict Peers, prosecuting, said they had been "involved in the booking and payment of flights from Hungary and collection of women from the airport".

Mr Peers said analysis of bank accounts revealed flights had been paid for while Lakatos had also been on trips to Luton and Stansted airports.

He said Lakatos played a "leading role" in the offences which took a "high degree of planning".

Bogdan was said to have also played a "leading role" and was involved in the booking of flights for sex workers as well as adverts on the internet.

Eastern Daily Press:

The court heard Varga held an administrative role while Peter and Rezmuves had performed a limited role under direction.

Eastern Daily Press:

Lakatos and Bogdan, of Salhouse Road, Norwich appeared in court on Thursday (February 16) after admitting to arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.

Eastern Daily Press:

Varga, also of Salhouse Road, and Peter and Rezmuves, both of Vera Road, Norwich, had all admitted an offence of participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group.

Eastern Daily Press:

Jailing the gang for a total of more than 10 years, Judge Anthony Bate said it had been a "complex investigation with an international dimension" with victims who were "young and vulnerable to exploitation".

He said: "Between October 2019 and December 2021 an international organised crime group was actively exploiting young Hungarian sex workers who were flown to England to work as prostitutes."

Eastern Daily Press:

Judge Bate added: "This was an illegal business run for profit and all those that became trusted members of the group could expect a share in these illicit gains."

Lakatos and Bogdan were jailed for three years and four months.

Varga was jailed for 20 months and Peter and Rezmuves were both handed 15 month sentences.

Matthew McNiff, mitigating for Lakatos, said there was "some planning" by the defendant who should be given "substantial credit" for his plea.

He said Lakatos is suffering from a heart condition, is awaiting bypass surgery and should be regarded as a vulnerable prisoner.

Danielle O'Donovan, mitigating for Bogdan, said there must be some degree of planning but it was a "long way short" of what had been suggested by the crown.

She said: "My client's role was to book flights and little more than that".

Michael Clare, mitigating for Varga, said she was a former sex worker herself and "brought some friends over".

He said the sex workers were "perfectly happy" to have travelled from Hungary and "were not coerced in any way" nor were they threatened.

Will Carter, for Laszlo, said he was "acting in a very subordinate role on a very limited basis under direction".

Oliver Haswell, mitigating for Rezmuves, said she was not someone who had "undertaken significant pre-planning" whose involvement was "not driven by financial gain".