Couple who ran Harrogate brothel jailed over modern slavery charges

Fabiani Alvez De Souza, aged 42, and Gareth Derby, aged 53, have been jailed for five years each. Credit: North Yorkshire Police

A couple who trafficked women in North Yorkshire and elsewhere in the UK to work as sex slaves have been jailed for a total of 10 years.

Fabiani Alvez De Souza, 42, and Gareth Derby, 53, who are both from Norfolk, ran a brothel in Harrogate where women from Brazil, Portugal and Spain were exploited.

Both were jailed for five years each at Leeds Crown Court following a guilty verdict in December 2021.

They were also handed slavery and trafficking orders that will last for 10 years following their release from prison.

The couple made more than £40,000 during six months from the sex business.

An investigation by North Yorkshire Police's Organised Crime Unit identified a flat in Harrogate rented by De Souza as the site of the brothel.

WhatsApp messages obtained by the police showed that De Souza referred to herself as "the boss".

The couple were arrested in 2018 after a lengthy police inquiry.

"Controlling prostitution for gain"

Detective Constable Leah Kitchen, of the Organised Crime Unit, said: "De Souza claimed throughout the investigation that she was just helping friends of hers who were working as prostitutes, while Derby repeatedly told the police that he was unaware of what was going on.

“The truth of the matter is that they, together, were operating an illegal business involving human trafficking and controlling prostitution for gain."

DC Kitchen added: “This is an important case as it is a victimless prosecution for a human trafficking and controlling prostitution investigation, which is unusual and more difficult to progress to court.

“It has also shown the importance of a safeguarding approach to policing, because if it wasn’t for the sex worker harm reduction visits carried out in Harrogate under Operation Oasis, this fledgling international sex trafficking business may have grown significantly without coming to the attention of the police.”