Three gang members have been convicted of human trafficking offences after they used young children from London to transport and sell drugs in Hampshire as part of 'county lines' gangs.
Glodi Wabelua, 25, Dean Alford, 25, and Michael Karemera, 25, recruited, groomed, and trafficked six victims aged 14 to19.
The oldest victim, identified as a vulnerable adult, told the court that he was stripped naked by associates of Karemera, had a gun placed in his mouth, and threatened, when he tried to leave the gang.
All three men were convicted of human trafficking offences under modern slavery legislation on Tuesday following a trial at Inner London Crown court.
The men were convicted of drug supply offences - of drugs including heroin and crack cocaine - in February 2016 at Woolwich Crown Court, before the trafficking offences were brought forward.
The victims were kept within drug users’ homes in Portsmouth and controlled their travel.
The victims would receive instructions via mobile phones, and drug lines could receive 200-300 calls a day.
After selling the drugs, victims would deposit their earnings and could earn the gang up to £2,000 a day.
Alford, Karemera and Wabelua frequently met with the victims at night to re-supply the drugs lines.
Alford was jailed for 11 years for drug offences, to run consecutively with a three year sentence for perverting the course of justice.
Karemera was jailed for 10 years, and Wabelua received six years and eight months after an early guilty plea.
They will be sentenced for the trafficking offences on 14 May.
Safeguarding lead of the National County Lines Coordination Centre, Tim Champion, said: “Exploiting vulnerable children in this way is unacceptable and individuals who do this will be prioritised and find themselves additionally convicted of human trafficking offences, which are often subject to long prison sentences.
“The issue of county lines is very complex and brings together deep-rooted criminal behaviour, such as gang membership, drugs supply, drug abuse and human trafficking.”