THREE men accused of roles in the exploitation of two Romanian women in Preston have appeared in the dock at Preston Crown Court.
They were arrested in July as part of an investigation in Preston in which a property was visited and two Romanian women were identified as allegedly having been brought to the UK and subjected to sexual exploitation.
Marius Petre, 26, of Longworth Street, Preston, wearing a navy blue jumper, spoke through an interpreter to enter not guilty pleas to two counts of rape between June 29 and July 27, intentionally arranging or facilitating entry into the country of a person with a view to their sexual exploitation, and causing or inciting prostitution between July 10 and 27.
His co-defendant of the same address, Adrian Matei, 34, who sported a goatee beard and wore a dark grey jacket and green T-shirt, denies the same charges.
Ionut Ion, 35, of Longworth Street, Preston, who wore a stripey top and Adidas jacket, denied two counts of rape against one of the women on July 24 and July 25 and assisting in the management of a brothel.
They sat alongside two female interpreters and a guard.
Relatives of the trio, who travelled from Romania for the proceedings, watched from the public gallery as the jury was sworn in before Judge Pamela Badley.
She adjourned the proceedings until tomorrow.
The trial is expected to last at least three weeks.