A Scottish millionaire has been accused of concealing sex workers as “bamboo basket weavers” to illegally bring them into the UK. Hamish Ogston, 73, is alleged to have paid thousands of pounds to smuggle the women from China and then forced them to work as prostitutes in brothels across Scotland.
The allegations came to light in 2019 when a group of women escaped from one of Ogston’s brothels and contacted the police. The women told police they had been trafficked from China under the pretense of being offered jobs as bamboo basket weavers. However, once they arrived in the UK, they were forced to work as prostitutes and were subjected to physical and sexual violence.
Ogston was arrested and charged with trafficking in human beings and money laundering. He has denied all of the charges. His trial is scheduled to begin in October 2023, reported WION News.
The case has raised concerns about the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in the UK. According to the charity Trafficking Aid Reintegration, there are an estimated 13,000 victims of trafficking in the UK, of whom 80% are women and girls.
The allegations against Ogston are disturbing, suggesting he used his wealth and power to exploit vulnerable women. The fact that he could smuggle the women into the UK and operate a network of brothels without detection for so long is also a cause for concern.
Several civil lawsuits have also been filed against him by the women trafficked into the UK. These lawsuits are seeking compensation for the physical and emotional harm that the women suffered.