Three people traffickers have been found guilty of running a prostitution ring that exploited 19 vulnerable south east Asian women at hotels in the UK.

Li Wei Gao, an unemployed 44-year-old woman from China, who lives in Portsmouth Road, Esher, and Hong Chin, a 45-year-old takeaway employee who lives in Newton Wood Road, Ashtead were charged together.

Kevin Thompson, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The gang exploited vulnerable women, putting them to work in situations which exposed them to serious potential risks. Once the women were caught up in the prostitution ring, it was invariably almost impossible for them to escape the life they had been forced into.

“All the time, they were then earning what turned out to be huge sums of money for the defendants, who were responsible for running the operation without any regard for the women’s wellbeing.”

The pair was charged with conspiring to control prostitution for gain between February 1, 2013, and June 11, 2015 and conspiring to traffic people for sexual exploitation into the UK between March 10, 2015, and June 11, 2015.

Hong Chin was also charged with the same offences with Tingli Lu, a 47-year-old Chinese beautician of Somers Road, Southsea, Hampshire.

They were found guilty at the Old Bailey on Thursday, October 5, and will be sentenced on October 26.

Detective Inspector Andy Richardson said: "This has been a complex and lengthy investigation where vulnerable women were trafficked into the UK for the purposes of prostitution.

"Often the women were moved to different towns around the South East where hotel rooms were booked for them, and then they were told who they would be seeing and what services they had to offer; they had no say in any of this.

"This was effectively a well organised and structured business which made the defendants thousands of pounds, as was seen from their bank accounts.

"Over the course of the investigation officers spoke to a number of women with their safety and welfare at the forefront of our minds.

"Each of the women we spoke to were offered support and protection through the National Referral Mechanism.

"Our case was also supported by the strength of the account given by one of the victims, who bravely gave evidence at the trial and I am grateful for her cooperation."

A spokesperson for Elmbridge police said: “These convictions are a really positive result and show that human trafficking is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We will leave no stone unturned in bringing those who commit such horrific crimes to justice.”

During the trial, a fourth person charged in connection with the case, Wing Yeun, a 41-year-old taxi driver of Palace Square, London, was found not guilty of all charges.