A Fulham brothel operator and head of a London sex empire is facing jail after he admitted a series of crimes including making money from prostitution and human trafficking.

David Archer, 53, of Wanstead in east London, pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court to running a string of brothels, trafficking women and controlling their profiles on adult websites.

Archer admitted to conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, two counts of human trafficking, possession of an identity document with improper intention and concealing criminal property, Scotland Yard said.

He was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault on Monday (March 27) after a four-week trial.

'Exploited vulnerable women'

Detective Sergeant John Kirby, of the Metropolitan Police Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Archer exploited vulnerable women to build his lucrative empire in the sex industry over a number of years.

"The vulnerability of the women and his position of strength created an imbalance which he exploited again and again - financially, emotionally, and in some cases sexually.

"He advertised the brothels as women-run business and once he lured the women, they were instructed to pose for explicit photos, and in some cases forced to engage in sexual activity.

"Once under his control, he transported the women between his venues to maximise his profit."

He said the women involved had suffered "horrendous ordeals" and the investigation uncovered "distressed victims that have suffered significant trauma".

Possibly more victims

DS Kirby appealed for further information, adding: "It is possible that there are further victims that have not yet come forward, and we would urge them to speak to police."

Archer ran a brothel in Clonmel Road, Fulham

Archer had assets worth nearly £16 million, brothels making around £1.6 million a year and more than £142,000 in cash was found at one of the premises he ran, Scotland Yard said.

Police were alerted in January 2016 by one of his victims, a sex worker, about a woman who was locked inside a bedroom at Archer's east London address in Northumberland Avenue.

They found a young woman trapped inside one of the rooms and evidence that the property was a brothel.

Mobile phones, cameras and laptops were seized and Archer was later arrested on suspicion of controlling prostitution for gain.

Fulham property used as a brothel

Detectives soon discovered that Archer was using the three other properties in east London that he owned as well as a building in Fulham, as brothels, Scotland Yard said.

These included a house and a hotel, both in Forest Gate, plus a hotel in Barking Road, Plaistow. He was also renting a property in Clonmel Road in Fulham.

These properties were searched after Archer's arrest and there was clear evidence that they were being run as brothels, police said.

Trafficked women into the country

Archer advertised the rooms in the properties for sex workers to use and often charged high rates for room rental or took a significant percentage of the income generated by prostitution. He also trafficked women into the country to work as prostitutes.

Zobia Taqi ran some of the financial side of Archer's business

He also took sexually explicit pictures of the women and sexually assaulted many victims when he took photographs of them.

The images he took were used on profiles on adult websites advertising their services. Archer ensured he had complete control of most of the profiles, many of which were advertised through an adult website.

Accomplices also pleaded guilty

His accomplices, Emma Cox, 41, of Worthing, West Sussex, and Zobia Taqi, 29, of Ilford, east London, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to control prostitution for gain on February 10.

Emma Cox managed the online profiles of sex workers

Cox was in involved in managing the profiles of the sex workers created by Archer, and Taqi oversaw some of the financial side of Archer's businesses as well as managing Archer's hotels.

All three are to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

Archer was also found not guilty of seven counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

In an unrelated incident, women were spotted "dancing naked in the garden" before a Southall brothel was shut down.

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