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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 16 November, 2018
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Modern slavery human trafficking unit arrests woman in Belfast for controlling prostitution

The PSNI said the 35-year-old woman is helping police with their inquiries.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE PSNI’S SERIOUS Crime branch has arrested a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of human trafficking, controlling prostitution for gain and brothel keeping.

The woman was detained last night in the south Belfast area.

Detective chief inspector Mark Bell, the head of the PSNI’s modern slavery human trafficking unit said officers from his team had made the arrest as part of a “proactive investigation” into human trafficking.

“She is currently in police custody, helping us with our enquiries,” Bell added.

Last year, the PSNI and Department of Justice launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of modern slavery in Northern Ireland, as well as setting up a dedicated helpline to report cases of modern slavery.

“Modern slavery is happening in Northern Ireland and the Department of Justice (DoJ) is calling on everyone across society to be aware of the possible signs that someone may need help and to report suspicions quickly and confidentially.” it said.

In 2016/17, the police unit conducted 308 screening assessments and discovered 34 victims of human trafficking.

A report published by Europol earlier this week said that Ireland is being used as a destination for child sex slaves.

The new report shows that international criminal groups, particularly from Nigeria, are using established trafficking networks and the cover afforded by the migrant crisis to smuggle minors into northern European countries like Ireland  for sale into the sex trade and other criminal enterprises.

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Sean Murray

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