Brothel bust NI: Man and woman charged with human trafficking and money laundering

A man and woman have been charged with a number of offences after raids by the PSNI on suspected brothels across Northern Ireland.

A statement from the PSNI on Tuesday night said: “A 63-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman have both been charged with human trafficking, controlling prostitution, brothel keeping and money laundering.

“Both are due to appear at Dungannon Magistrates Court on Wednesday November 23. As is normal procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.”

Read more: Two arrested in Belfast after ‘PSNI pursuit’ starts in Ballyclare

The charges are in relation to Operation Liverless which was carried out by detectives from the PSNI’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit and Gardai

The PSNI worked on the Monday’s operation alongside partners from An Garda Síochána, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, The National Crime Agency and Public Prosecution Service. A total of 150 officers were deployed.

Following the raids on 27 properties Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Hill said: “There’s been a significant amount of work in the build up to this and at the forefront of all of this has been the safety of victims.

“This was a major operation against an organised crime group responsible for trafficking women and transgender individuals into and around Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“Many of the victims involved are originally from Brazil, and have been exploited in over 27 brothels located in Newry, Armagh, Dungannon, Omagh, Cookstown, Derry/Londonderry, Coleraine, Belfast, Aughnacloy, Ballymena and Portrush.”

DCS Hill explained the victims were often exploited due to their poor grasp of English, which left them vulnerable.

He added: “This is so typical of what human traffickers do. They rely on the fact that victims are unable or afraid to speak out.

“They prey on vulnerable people, control everything in their lives and make vast amounts of money from exploiting them.

“Modern slavery is an appalling crime. It denies victims their human right to life, safety and freedom. Sadly, it’s very real, and there could be victims of exploitation in your street or neighbourhood.”

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BelfastLive – Co Tyrone