A WOMAN has been arrested in Moldova on suspicion of helping to illegally traffic people into Ireland.
The interior ministry in the eastern European country confirmed that 37-year-old Silvia Bordian had been charged with people trafficking.
It claimed that people desperate to move to the European Union paid Bordian and her accomplices sums of up to €5,000 and were brought into Ireland via Odessa in Ukraine and then through the Egyptian town of Sharm-El-Sheikh.
It is understood they travelled to Ukraine using legal documentation, before using false Romanian passports to enter Ireland. Half the fee was paid up front and the rest at the point of destination. A Garda spokesman said they were unable to make a comment at this time.
The Moldovan government website said its human traffic prevention department had recently stopped a channel of illegal migrant trafficking that used forged Romanian identity documents. “The organiser of this channel proved to be Silvia Bordian, aged 37, and with a domicile in the capital city, who was planning the illegal migration of Moldovan citizens to Ireland,” it said.
“Applicants who wished to go abroad” were promised that they would be doing so legally but that later “circumstances were changing without their consent”.
“Ultimately, the Moldovan citizens were arriving in Ireland, transiting the city Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt.”
It claimed Ms Bordian may have gained “considerable profits from organising illegal migration”. If found guilty, she faces a fine of up to three years in prison. It claimed the trade had operated for three years and police found five similar operations this year in which “hundreds of Moldovan nationals suffered”. It is unclear how many Moldovans were successfully trafficked here. The Moldovan government has also established a helpline for people affected.
Geraldine Rowley, spokeswoman for Ruhama, a group that works with women involved in prostitution, said she was unfamiliar with the claims from Moldova but said they were “believable”. 90% of prostitutes in Ireland are foreign nationals and a specialised unit should be established in the gardaí. “There are some days where there are no Irish women in our service,” she said.
Europol, the European police agency, said it was unable to comment, but a Europol report in February stated that there had been an apparent increase in recent years in the number of victims trafficked into the EU. Moldova was one of the main source countries, although Ireland is not listed with the main destination countries.
“There are reasons to believe that they [the victims] should be counted in hundreds of thousands. Due to the transient nature of this crime, there is not one single member state that is not a transit country to some extent,” it said.
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