The head of a £16million east London sex empire is facing jail after admitting a string of offences.

David Archer, 53, lured vulnerable women to his brothels in Forest Gate, Plaistow and Wanstead forcing them to pose for explicit photographs and perform sex acts.

He built a lucrative empire over a number of years, trafficking women into the UK to work as prostitutes and using online profiles to advertise their services.

He was caught after police found a sex worker locked inside a bedroom at his home in Northumberland Avenue, Wanstead.

Officers found evidence it was being used as a brothel and arrested Archer on suspicion of controlling prostitution for gain.

Detectives uncovered three other brothels in Newham; a house and hotel in Romford Road, Forest Gate and a hotel in Barking Road, Plaistow. He was also renting a property on Clonmel Road in Fulham.

They discovered Archer had sexually assaulted several women while taking photographs of them for an adult website called Adultwork.

He also took large chunks of the cash the woman made through prostitution, making around £1.6m a year from the four brothels and compiling assets totalling nearly £16 million.

Officers also found more than £142,000 in cash hidden at one of the premises.

Detective Sergeant John Kirby, of the Met’s 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.”

Archer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to control prostitution for gain, two counts of human trafficking, possession of an identity document with improper intention and ne count of concealing criminal property.

On Monday, March 27, he was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault following a four-week trial.

DS Kirby added: “The women involved went through horrendous ordeals. Some of the victims testified during the trial, and I praise them for their bravery and courage.

“This has been a complex investigation with distressed victims that have suffered significant trauma, and I would like to acknowledge the roles of other agencies that have helped support the victims during the course of the investigation, and stopped other women becoming victims in the future.

“It is possible that there are further victims that have not yet come forward, and we would urge them to speak to police.”

He is due to be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court alongside accomplices Emma Cox, 41 of New Timber Avenue, Worthing and Zobia Taqi, 29 of High Road, Ilford a date to be confirmed.

They both admitted conspiracy to control prostitution for gain.

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

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