Man and woman charged with ‘brothel keeping’ as part of paramilitary crackdown

Man and woman charged with ‘brothel keeping’ as part of paramilitary crackdown

A MAN and woman have been charged with brothel keeping as part of a PSNI crackdown on criminal gangs linked to paramilitaries.

The pair were among seven arrested as part of a Paramilitary Crime Task Force operation over the past few days focusing on the activities of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

The man, aged 32, has been charged with brothel keeping and concealing criminal property.

The 22-year-old woman been charged with controlling prostitution and brothel keeping.

The pair, who were arrested on Friday, are expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court tomorrow (Monday).

Meanwhile a 48-year-old man arrested in connection with alleged trafficking and controlling prostitution offences has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Detectives conducting the operation also arrested a 55-year-old man in the greater Belfast area on Saturday night under terrorism legislation.

'They destroy lives and harm communities'

Three other men detained on Friday under terrorism legislation remain in custody.

A total of seven people have been arrested as part of the operation in Belfast, Lisburn, Crumlin and Newtownabbey – three in connection with alleged offences related to controlling prostitution and four under the Terrorism Act.

Speaking after Friday’s arrests, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said the INLA’s structures remained in existence and members were heavily involved in extortion, paramilitary-style attacks and violent acts of intimidation against alleged drug dealers.

He said: “These criminal gangs destroy people’s lives and harm our communities and we are committed to tackling them head on so that communities and businesses can prosper without any threat or fear.

“Paramilitaries exploit their own communities and others through various types of criminality, including extortion and prostitution, and they are ruthless in their methods including so-called paramilitary-style attacks.

“They exploit vulnerability, including younger citizens who can so easily be drawn in. They destroy lives and harm the communities they so often claim to represent."