Northern Ireland

Chinese prostitute given suspended term

Court statue

A Chinese woman who turned to prostitution to make ends meet has been given an 18-month suspended jail term.

Belfast Crown Court heard that 48-year-old Lei Wang was arrested in November 2008 during a police investigation into human trafficking.

However, Belfast Recorder Tom Burgess accepted that there was "absolutely no question" that Wang herself was involved in trafficking.

He said reports desrcibed her as a devoted mother to her son.

The court heard that when police raided her Edinburgh Steet home in Belfast they seized over £24,000 and 1,500 euros and later impounded over £78,000 in a bank account.

The recorder said the agreed evidence established that on coming to Northern Ireland in April 2006 "she began working for herself in the sex industry", and soon built up a large clientele.

Judge Burgess said that other women contacted her and she allowed them, on occasions, to travel from others parts of the UK to use her premises as a base.

He added however, this too did not involve any form of trafficking or coercion on her part, nor had she any control of these women and had really acted as a facilitor.

Defence QC Patrick Lyttle said Wang's was a case where "there was no victim".

Wang, who has a clear record and has not reoffended since her arrest, pleaded guilty to being concerned with prostitution and criminal property.