Three Polish women admit charges over Belfast brothel
Three Polish women have been convicted of brothel keeping and providing property for criminal purposes in Belfast.
The women – 23-year-old Milena Halina Tarnowska, Sandra Polewska, 24, and 27-year-old Marta Kozakowska – all pleaded guilty to the charges and were given suspended prison sentences at Belfast Magistrates Court.
Kozakowska was also charged with obstructing police by swallowing a mobile phone SIM card when police entered the women’s flat to search it.
The women were arrested at a brothel in Belfast’s Alfred Street on Tuesday, as part of the biggest ever cross-border operation against organised prostitution in Ireland, in which five people were arrested in Northern Ireland and three in the Republic of Ireland.
Three suspected victims of human trafficking were rescued.
A prosecution lawyer said there was no allegation of human trafficking and no other people were involved in running the brothel apart from the accused.
Two other women arrested in Northern Ireland during the searches – Operation Quest – have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) believe 10 out of 20 addresses searched across Northern Ireland were being used as brothels.
PSNI Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall said this was only the start of the operation.
“The operation is continuing and there is the potential for more searches and more arrests in the days ahead,” he said.
“There is a demand for those sexual services and organised criminals are feeding that demand.
“They are bringing vulnerable men and women into both parts of Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
“It is large-scale, it is organised and there are multi-million pound criminal profits being made.