A woman who ran a brothel in Weston-super-Mare has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
Natalie Davis, 51, of Bristol Road, Hewish, admitted controlling prostitution for financial gain at an earlier hearing before being sentenced today (18 January) at Bristol Crown Court.
In addition to the jail sentence, she was also given a Serious Crime Prevention Order to run for five years, which gives police powers to restrict and monitor her business dealings – making it harder for her to return to a life of crime when she is released from prison.
The court heard Davis had run Butterfly’s Massage Parlour out of a flat on Alexandra Parade since 2007.
Police became aware of concerns about the business following a BBC news item.
Plain clothed officers subsequently visited the premises on three occasions during which they were offered sexual services. No sexual activity took place as all the officers made excuses and left immediately after the offers were made.
A warrant was subsequently carried out at the property following which one woman was referred to the National Referral Mechanism, a system which helps protect victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. A number of sex toys were found locked in cupboards during the warrant.
An investigation into the business’ finances revealed Davis was profiting from the sexual services offered by its employees and that she was laundering the money through her personal accounts.
Inquiries also established Davis paid for adverts for Butterfly’s on a website offering adult services using her own personal bank account.
Chief Inspector Leanne Pook said: “Natalie Davis shamelessly exploited vulnerable women for her own personal gain.
“It’s clear from printed documents found in her home she had researched prostitution and the running of brothels online and that she knew what she was doing was illegal.
“Our priority is to ensure that criminals do not profit from people’s vulnerability. We are committed to safeguarding and supporting vulnerable people.
“We won’t tolerate criminality of this kind and will take action whenever we have the evidence to do so as well as pursuing any illegal earnings through the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
If you have suspicions or concerns about people being exploited you can call us on 101 or contact us via our online reporting form – https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact-us/report-a-crime-or-incident.