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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 3 July, 2020
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Man and woman jailed for two years for human trafficking offences

Police rescued 13 victims during an operation in Belfast three years ago.

Image: Shutterstock/www.BillionPhotos.com

A MAN AND woman have each been jailed for two years for human trafficking and prostitution offences after 13 victims were rescued during a police raid in Northern Ireland.

Ilie Ionut (34) and Ancuta Schwarz (30), originally from Romania, were arrested three years ago following a police operation.

Thirteen trafficking victims were discovered during the raid in Belfast, with police believing it was part of a human trafficking ring that operated throughout Northern Ireland, Sweden and Romania.

Schwarz was arrested in Belfast, while Ionut was arrested in Romania.  They were taken to Sweden, where they were imprisoned and fined.

Extradited

Upon their release, they were extradited to Northern Ireland earlier this year.

They pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking, controlling prostitution and money laundering and were each sentenced to two years in jail in Belfast Crown Court in today.

The sentence was welcomed by the PSNI.

“Working with law enforcement colleagues in various parts of Europe, we believe we have halted the activities of an organised crime gang involved in controlling prostitution and human trafficking in Northern Ireland, Sweden and Romania,” Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, from Serious Crime Branch, said.

Grant said the operation, codenamed Burgrave, was made possible through a Joint Investigation Team agreement between the UK and Sweden which was supported by Europol.

The Joint Investigation Team agreement between the UK and Sweden was reached with the assistance of Public Prosecution Service prosecutors and has enabled our teams of officers to secure criminal justice outcomes in separate jurisdictions.
Police will deploy every mechanism at our disposal to ensure victims are protected and that criminals are made to pay for their crimes.

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