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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 16 January 2021

Twenty trafficking victims rescued and three men arrested

The 14 men and 6 women range in age from 20 to 48.

Image: Stephen Kilkenny

TWENTY POTENTIAL VICTIMS of human trafficking have been rescued by the PSNI Organised Crime Branch in county Armagh.

Three men were also arrested as part of an operation into labour exploitation which has been running for several days.

The 20 Romanian victims were rescued at various stages since last Wednesday at two locations in Armagh.

The 14 men and 6 women range in age from 20 to 48.

Police have liaised with the UK Human Trafficking Centre and a number of agencies to ensure the victims are safe.

Additional translators have been flown to Northern Ireland from England to cope with the number of victims involved and the volume of information which needs to be processed.

The three suspects, aged 23, 27 and 31 were arrested in Armagh and Antrim.

They are being questioned at the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station on suspicion of human trafficking, forced labour and slavery and money laundering.

Two properties have been searched and three vehicles seized.

Detectives from Organised Crime Branch have also been liaising with the Gangmaster Licensing Authority as part of their investigations which are linked to food production.

Detective Inspector Todd Clements from Organised Crime Branch said:

This has been a fast-moving and complex operation which may continue for some time.

“The 20 people we have identified as potential victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation are in places of safety now. Our inquiries are continuing.”

Read: Trafficked Asian nationals forced into drug trade are getting tougher sentences than Irish – MRCI>

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