by Gordon Deegan
Romanian prostitutes at two Ennis brothels were selling their bodies in order to raise the exorbitant rent being charged to them for the properties by a brothel keeper, a court has heard.
Judge Patrick Durcan today jailed brothel keeper and married father of three, Thiago Silva (31) of Castle Manor, Racecourse Rd, Roscommon for six months.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Durcan said that Mr Silva had engaged in ‘huge exploitation in terms of the level of rent that these girls were forced to pay”.
Judge Durcan said that the girls “were the poorest of the poor and came from an impoverished country”.
Insp Tom Kennedy said that Mr Silva was paying rent for the two apartments in Ennis at €600 each per month and he was in turn charging the prostitutes using the apartments €2,400 per property per month.
Judge Durcan said:
Judge Durcan said that one way to discourage such activity was to impose a jail term and he imposed two three month jail terms on each of the two charges to run consecutively.
The court heard that that Brazilian born Mr Silva turned to brothel keeping after his car-wash business in Co Roscommon went bad.
Solicitor for Mr Silva, John Casey said that someone told Mr Silva that he could make a premium in the rent he charged the women using the properties and that “it was an easy way of making money”.
Mr Casey said: “It was his first venture and he has no previous convictions and has lived in Ireland for 12 years."
Det Garda Stephen Hession said that Mr Silva was crying when caught by Gardai and co-operated. Det Hession said that in a Garda interview, Mr Silva stated that he knew what was going on in the properties.
Mr Casey said: “Mr Silva is married with three school going children and his wife was very upset when she heard about this.”
Mr Casey said that his client had no involvement with the girls other than charging them the rent.
Det Hession said that both brothels were shut down within a week of opening as a result of a Garda operation targeting suspected brothels.
Asked by Judge Durcan was there much business being conducted at the two properties, Det Hession replied: “There was a steady flow Judge.”
Det Hession said that the Romanian girls would fly in from Romanian to work as prostitutes and advertise themselves on the 'Escort Ireland' website.
Asked was there any element of trafficking involved, Det Hession said: “The girls came of their own free will and money they were making was for themselves.”
Mr Casey said that Mr Silva’s business in Ennis “never really got off the ground. He lost the deposits he paid on the properties”.
Mr Casey said that Mr Silva’s house in Co Roscommon is in pretty poor condition “and there are no trappings of wealth”.
In the case, Mr Silva pleaded guilty to being a tenant in charge of an apartment at Leim an Bhradain, Gort Rd and knowingly permitting the property to be used as a brothel on May 26th 2017.
Mr Silva also pleaded guilty to being a tenant in charge of an apartment at Springfield Orchard, Harmony Row, Ennis and knowingly permitting the property to be used as a brothel on November 17th 2016.
Mr Silva has appealed the jail term to the circuit court and Judge Durcan granted recognisance to allow Mr Silva take up bail in the event of an appeal.