A sex slave says she was forced to sleep with up to 20 men a day while being regularly beaten, burned and malnourished during her trafficking hell.
Doctors gave Elena – not her real name – only 48 hours to live after seeing her depleted condition, having been left with internal bleeding when rescuers finally found her.
Her ordeal started when a man she considered her boyfriend tricked her into moving to Britain before locking her up in a flat in the West Midlands.
Speaking as part of BBC Two documentary Sold: Sex Slaves Next Door, the brave victim said she was one of three women locked up by her abuser.
“I had to do the same thing every day – sleep with different men,” Elena said.
“There were some who’d stay even five or six hours – especially the drug addicts.”
The TV show explores how seemingly normal houses across the UK are being used as brothels where Romanian women are forced to have sex for cash.
Elena – who advertised herself online – would make thousands of pounds a day but all the profit was given to her trafficker.
She said: “I was spied on from every angle. He knew everything – when I went to sleep, what time I woke up, how much money we all made, how we made it.”
Elena’s beatings became so severe she haemorrhaged and her “boyfriend” abandoned her as she fought for her life.
Simone Lord, of modern slavery charity Medaille, said he had never seen someone in a worse state than when she was finally found.
He admitted one consultant said Elena would be dead within two days.
Sex work for over-18s is legal in the UK and so police rely on victims like Elena to help them to secure a conviction against their abusers.
There were nearly 6,000 recorded sex trafficking victims in England and Wales between April 2018 and December 2020.
But fewer than 100 completed prosecutions in that time, according to the BBC documentary.
Elena is now working with police to help snare traffickers.
Iana Matei, who runs the only shelter for trafficked children in Romania, said gangs will use the “lover-boy” method to bait children into their trafficking rings.
She said recruiters will even enter school playgrounds to try and talk to girls.
One girl she is helping is just 13 and so brainwashed she is still desperate to get back to her 52-year-old ‘lover’.
A loophole in Romanian law means if such a victim says she wants to go with her trafficker by choice, her family has no say.