29/06/2016

Pair Jailed After Admitting Human Trafficking And Prostitution Offences

A man and woman from Romania have been sentenced to two years in prison after admitting human trafficking and prostitution offences.

Ionut Ille, aged 34, and Ancuta Schwarz, aged 30, were detained three years ago as part of a joint investigation with Swedish police.

Ille was arrested in Romania and Schwarz was arrested in Belfast. They were taken to Sweden where they received custodial sentences and fines. After those sentences had been served, they were extradited to Northern Ireland earlier this year.

They pleaded guilty to charges of human trafficking, controlling prostitution and money laundering.
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Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Grant, from Serious Crime Branch, said: "This was a joint operation, codenamed Burgrave, involving the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Swedish police which investigated the activities of an Organised Crime Group suspected of involvement in controlling prostitution and human trafficking in Northern Ireland and Sweden.

"This operation has been made possible through a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) agreement between the UK and Sweden. Eurojust, the EU agency set up to promote co-ordination between member states in relation to serious and organised crime, partly funded the operation. The operation was assisted and supported by Europol. PSNI and Swedish police liaised with law enforcement authorities in Romania.

"Officers carried out an arrest and search operation in Belfast in April 2013 as a result of which 13 trafficking victims were rescued.

"Working with law enforcement colleagues in various parts of Europe, we believe we have halted the activities of an organised crime gang involved in controlling prostitution and human trafficking in Northern Ireland, Sweden and Romania."

(CD)

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