Northern Ireland

Four face court after raids linked to human trafficking

A series of raids were carried out on suspected brothels in Belfast
Image caption A series of raids were carried out on suspected brothels in Belfast

Two men and two women are due to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court later on charges linked to human trafficking.

It follows a series of raids on seven suspected brothels across Belfast on Friday.

A 21-year-old woman and two men, aged 33 and 46, face charges of trafficking for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution, brothel keeping and money laundering.

Another woman, who is 22, is charged with controlling prostitution.

The raids, which were carried out on Friday, were part of a UK-wide operation called Operation Apsis.

Police said its objective was "to recover victims, both UK and foreign nationals" who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation.

In all, 16 properties were searched across the UK by a number of police forces.

Police said 12 women and three men who, they believe, were being forced to work as prostitutes, were rescued. They would not say how many of them were from Northern Ireland.

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