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Human trafficking crime gang disrupted by PSNI as 27 brothels raided across Northern Ireland

The PSNI has approached victims from 27 brothels across Northern Ireland as part of a huge effort involving over 150 officers, against an organised crime group.

Belfast Live joined police from the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit on Monday, as they visited two premises in Newry, with the door kicked in at one.

Two people were arrested elsewhere following the visits, which involved months of preparation as part of Operation Liverless, a PSNI operation targeting human trafficking.

A 63-year-old man in Pomeroy and a 47-year-old woman in Newry were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, controlling prostitution, brothel keeping and money laundering.

“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,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Hill.

“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.”

The PSNI worked on the operation alongside partners from An Garda Síochána, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, The National Crime Agency and Public Prosecution Service.

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

“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.”

The PSNI highlighted certain signs to look out for if people are worried that someone is being exploited:

  • Someone who can’t produce their passport or personal documents
  • Someone who is unsure of their home address or the local area
  • Someone who is distrustful of authorities as traffickers may have told victims that police will be violent towards them
  • Someone who has no access to medical treatment
  • Someone who appears to be under the control of others or always has someone else speak on their behalf
  • An over-crowded house or flat with a regular turnover of new occupants
  • Someone who may not have cash as they don’t get to keep the money that they earn

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original location.

ABOUT

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.

 

EYES ON TRAFFICKING

This “Eyes on Trafficking” story is reprinted from its original online location.

ABOUT PBJ LEARNING

PBJ Learning is a leading provider of online human trafficking training, focusing on awareness and prevention education. Their interactive Human Trafficking Essentials online course is used worldwide to educate professionals and individuals how to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to potential victims. Learn on any web browser (even your mobile phone) at any time.

More stories like this can be found in your PBJ Learning Knowledge Vault.