Northern Ireland

Asians recruited to Northern Ireland brothel

Lisa in by the sea Image copyright Other
Image caption Lisa told our undercover researcher: "If you can make £1,700 to £1,800 a week, I'll be laughing."

BBC News NI has uncovered a brothel luring undocumented Asian women to Belfast with the promise of work to pay off people smugglers.

A classified advert in the free newspaper, the UK China Times, available throughout the UK, was used to recruit the women.

It is followed by a UK mobile number that leads to a brothel in Belfast.

The brothel manager, known as Lisa, who keeps half the earnings, said she was "trying to help" the women.

Advert

BBC News NI enlisted the help of a Chinese journalist based in London. Posing as a potential recruit, she called the number in the advert and spoke in Mandarin to Lisa.

After asking her age, and if she was fat, Lisa agreed to employ the journalist for sex work.

She told her to fly to Belfast, bringing high heels, school girl and nurses outfits, and warned against packing too many condoms in her bag to avoid suspicion from the authorities.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLisa, who runs a brothel in Belfast, speaks to BBC News NI reporter Andy Pag about recruiting Chinese women to sell sex

Lisa told the journalist that she had run two brothels but now only had one.

When they met, Lisa discussed a range of sexual activities and said: "When you make money, I make money, too. It's £70 per half hour, £100 per 45 minutes. £130 for an hour. Understand? We go fifty-fifty."

She said: "If you can make £1,700 to £1,800 a week, I'll be laughing."

Doorstep

When first confronted with allegations of her criminality, Lisa refused to answer the BBC's questions.

A white man, in his mid 40s, who had driven Lisa to the encounter, drove off when he saw BBC journalists.

Later, Lisa wiped away tears and said in faltering English: "My husband here doesn't know. I have family here."

Image caption Advert in UK Chinese Times: "Wanted: Masseuse. Located in Ireland, a long term position for a girl who can give massages. A tourist visa, student visa, or residency is required, and you must be between 22-40 years of age. If you are interested, please call:"

Speaking about sex work she said: "I was just trying to help [this girl]. This time is very difficult, December, January, February, No money, no customers. I'm not working, just sometimes. I didn't put that advert in the paper [since] a long time. I'm a very nice woman."

When asked about the two brothels she had run, she said: "I'm not [running] two or three. How can I do this? I'm not a big woman."

She responded to the claims she made on the phone saying "it's a wrong number", and "I think your hearing is wrong".

The full story can be heard in a BBC Radio Ulster documentary - Vice Girl or Victim - on Sunday at 12:30 GMT and on the iPlayer.

More on this story