Man found guilty of forcing person into sex work

A man has been found guilty of forcing a person into sex work.

Guo Liu, 56, of Anchor Street in Chelmsford has been given a 20-month sentence, suspended for two years for controlling prostitution for gain between 2020 and 2021.

He had denied the charge but was was found guilty by a jury and sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday.

Det Con Georgette Beckett said: "It’s important that we protect the women who are working in the [sex work] industry by convicting those who are controlling them."

Liu had previously admitted to possession of an extreme pornographic image and possession of a Class B drug.

The court was told that in 2021 adverts for sexual services in the Chelmsford area were posted from an account paid for by Liu.

In March 2021 a warrant was executed at a takeaway restaurant on Anchor Street in Chelmsford.

Officers from Essex Police found a phone being used as a sex line and documents connected to another address in Chelmsford.

Liu's phone was seized when he was arrested and officers found an email address which was connected to an account advertising sexual services.

It also showed that £15,000 had been sent to the account and contained "extreme pornographic content", said a spokesperson for Essex Police.

'Lucrative business'

A bank statement showed that Liu had been paying the rent of a flat connected to the sex line and had been used by a sex worker.

Liu said he was paying rent to that flat as somewhere he could go to rest and invite friends round for a drink. He said he had nothing to do with sex work.

However, he was found guilty by the jury and the judge also ordered him to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and given a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Det Con Beckett said: “Victims forced into the sex trade are often too afraid to talk to police about their treatment.

“Prostitution is a lucrative business for those who are running these types of services and it’s important that we protect the women who are working in the industry by convicting those who are controlling them."

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