Police in the UK and Europe are hunting a Romanian man who has been convicted of attempting to force a pregnant woman to work in a brothel in the UK.
Robert Enescu was found guilty at Warwick Crown Court on Monday of trafficking the woman, despite her being three months pregnant.
The court heard how the woman was brought to the UK from Romania and feared being forced into sex work at a Coventry brothel.
She was kept in squalid conditions at an address in Coventry for two days and Enescu made her pose in lingerie for adult contact site profile pictures.
West Midlands Police rescued her on 20 February 2018 from a taxi Enescu had booked to take her to a brothel in St Christians Road.
The following day officers raided the address and safeguarded several eastern European women suspected of being used as sex slaves.
Then on 22 February Enescu was arrested from his home in Kingfield Road.
He denied being involved in trafficking the woman, who arrived at Luton Airport on 16 February, but was charged, found guilty and jailed for nine years in his absence having skipped court bail on the eve of his crown court trial.
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A wanted appeal has now been issued for Enescu and West Midlands Police is working with police across the UK and Europol in a bid to trace him and bring him to justice.
The investigation was conducted by officers on the Public Protection Unit based at Coventry Central police station.
Detective Inspector Wes Martin led the investigation. He said: “The woman responded to an online advert for masseuses, she thought it was a legitimate job but within hours realised she was in danger.
“She was kept locked in a room at an address in Enfield with no food or heating, just a mattress to lie on and a bucket as a toilet. She said she had no way to escape, the door was locked from the outside and had no handle on the inside.
“She was too afraid to jump from a window as she was pregnant; she tried to raise the alarm by shouting help but no-one replied. She had a phone but there was no signal.
“Two days later Enescu drove her to an address in Coventry and it was clear he intended to force her into prostitution.
“In Coventry she was kept captive in squalid conditions and subject to degrading treatment. She was eventually informed she would be released to a brothel where she would work as a sex worker and have to give half of her earnings to Enescu.
“When our officers intercepted the taxi, following a call from the concerned driver, all she had in her possession was a bag of around 50 condoms Enescu had given her. He’d earlier smashed her mobile phone and stolen what money she had.
“My officers worked tremendously hard to secure this conviction: they safeguarded the woman, liaised with officers in Romania, helped return her safely home and kept in touch while the case progressed.
“It was this compassionate and sensitive response which reassured the woman and gave her the confidence to come back to the UK to give evidence.
“If anyone has any information on Enescu’s whereabouts I would encourage them to get in touch.”
Those with information are urged to contact the Public Protection Unit in Coventry by calling 101 or via Live Chat at WMP Online. Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.