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Gardaí and PSNI infiltrate human trafficking ring in Northern Ireland

An Garda Siochana and the PSNI have raided 27 brothels across Northern Ireland in a multi organisational operation targeting human traffickers. 

A statement from the PSNI says: “Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, supported by over 150 officers from across the organisation as well as Criminal Justice partners, today carried out a significant operation into an organised crime group, which has been trafficking people throughout Northern Ireland for sexual exploitation.”

Two people – a 63 year old man in Pomeroy and 47 year old woman in Newry were arrested in connection with the raids which were made as part of ‘Operation Liverless’ which commenced last February. 

“Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Hill, Head of Organised Crime Branch, said: “Today, detectives and officers across the Police Service of Northern Ireland conducted 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.” 

“Following the arrests, officers visited 27 brothels across the country to carry out safeguarding with victims of human trafficking.” it said. 

The PSNI also stated that the majority of the victims were Brazilian nationals who it believes were exploited due to their immigration status and lack of English language skills. 

The brothels were situated in Newry, Armagh, Dungannon, Omagh, Cookstown, Derry/Londonderry, Coleraine, Belfast, Aughnacloy, Ballymena and Portrush.

Liam Harrison of  the NCA’s (National Crime Agency) Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit said, “Modern slavery and human trafficking is often hidden in plain sight.” 

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