Gardaí target Brazilian human trafficking gang exploiting sex workers in Ireland

Gardaí target Brazilian human trafficking gang exploiting sex workers in Ireland

Det. Insp. Kelly said there were “50 other potential victims” and that they had spoken to some, but that others had returned to Brazil.

Gardaí have identified 13 suspected members of a Brazilian organised crime group operating a human trafficking network supplying the sex work trade in Ireland.

Two vulnerable victims of that gang are assisting detectives, with the investigation team estimating there are a further 50 potential victims.

Two of the suspects are currently before the courts, according to a presentation from the Garda National Protective Services Bureau to the Dublin City Council Joint Policing Committee.

Detective Inspector Daniel Kelly of the bureau’s Human Trafficking Investigation Unit said they have been investigating this crime network for a number of years. He said the 13 suspects identified include recruiters for the group, who have trafficked victims via Portugal, the UK and Northern Ireland.

The two suspects before the courts face counts of human trafficking, organisation of prostitution and money laundering. He said the victims are “very vulnerable” Brazilian women, who thought they were going to be working in different forms of employment.

Det. Insp. Kelly said there were “50 other potential victims” and that they had spoken to some, but that others had returned to Brazil.

He said networks involved in human trafficking are also often “polycriminal” and engage in drug trafficking, production of false documentation and money laundering. He said that a second operation, codenamed Realistic, was targeting the sexual exploitation of sex workers.

He said the operation, the brainchild of assistant commissioner Anne-Marie Cagney, was being conducted in each of the six divisions in the region.

Asst Comm. Cagney said human trafficking is “under-reported” and that Operation Realistic was at the stage where the national unit are engaging European counterparts to form a Joint Investigation Team to target organised crime groups.

Det. Insp. Kelly said that 44 victims of human trafficking were recorded by Gardaí in 2021, all of them adults. He said 28 were female and 16 were male.

A total of 25 victims were victims of sexual exploitation and 19 were victims of labour exploitation.

- If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please click here for a list of support services.

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