Two men have been sentenced after a police investigation unearthed brothels in Swindon.

Gigi Ciobanica and Priyantha Yakdehige have both been sentenced after an investigation and legal process which took years.

Ciobanica, of Grasmere Road, Birmingham, appeared at Swindon Crown Court on Friday, February 2.

The 46-year-old was sentenced to five years for engaging in human trafficking and three years for money laundering, to run concurrently.

He will also be subject to a Slavery Trafficking Prevention Order that he will need to comply with on his release from prison.

This will be for ten years and has several conditions designed to prevent him from engaging in such offences in the future.

Swindon Advertiser: Gigi Ciobanica appeared at court on Friday.Gigi Ciobanica appeared at court on Friday. (Image: Wiltshire Police)

Meamwhile, Yakdehige, 54 of no fixed abode, was given a two-year suspended sentence for engaging in human trafficking.

He was given a suspended two-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to money laundering and 200 hours of unpaid community work to be completed by February 2, 2025.

A third person, Cristina Olaru, was also found guilty to controlling prostitution for gain and money laundering.

The 31-year-old of Commercial Road, Swindon, failed to appear for sentencing and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Swindon Advertiser: Priyantha Yakdehige was also sentenced.Priyantha Yakdehige was also sentenced. (Image: Newsquest)

Wiltshire Police's investigation dates back to 2018 with a focus on an organised criminal gang trafficking young women from Romania to the UK.

The victims were then put to work as sex workers at brothels in the Swindon area, with the proceeds of the crime then laundered.

An investigation was launched by the Force’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit which culminated in several arrests and charges following the investigation phase.

The force were supported by the National Crime Agency whose involvement assisted with the arrest and extradition of suspects from overseas.

DS Richard Nelsen from SOCU said: “Modern Slavery is within our communities and is not something any of us can be complacent about in challenging.

“This group in particular worked in the Swindon area but we know that women were collected from Luton Airport and transported on ferries from France to the United Kingdom where they were put to work. The conditions they worked in were poor and they often worked effectively 24/7 with customers being booked throughout the day and night.

“The exploited women were not in control of when they worked and those at the top took a heavy slice of any profit which was made.

“The group operated on a model where the ‘landlord’, Priyantha Yakdehige, would arrange and pay for flights, and then arrange accommodation for members of the OCG to live and work in.

“His role made the wider criminal enterprise possible and for this reason he was integral to its operation.

“He profited from the criminal proceeds obtained from the prostitution, knowing how the money had been made.

“Gigi Ciobanica was the Romanian ‘boss’ who led the OCG and controlled the network of sex workers.

“He ensured the transportation, housing and activity of the exploited females was managed to ensure he profited directly and substantially.

“He would funnel the money back to Romania to construct property in his name, whilst evading taxation and stealing from those he exploited.

“Cristina Olaru was, at the time of the investigation, the partner of Ciobanica.

“She controlled the listings for the sex workers and managed their finances, ensuring she and Ciobanica took a profit and arranged where they were located in houses provided by Yakdehige.

“This group has been dismantled within Swindon and the sentencing will send a further message to those who wish to engage in this criminality.

“The police cannot tackle this problem on our own and I would encourage members of our community to report any concerns or suspicions they have of such activity to their local Neighbourhood Teams or via 101 unless an emergency.”