Two women, with addresses in Longford and Roscommon, have gone on trial accused of trafficking two Brazilian women to work as prostitutes. The first day of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial took place yesterday, with proceedings set to last up to 6 weeks.
Natalia Nogueira Da Silva of Cairn Hill View, Drumlish, Co Longford, pleaded not guilty to one count of human trafficking a woman. She pleaded guilty in front of the jury to one count of organising prostitution between December 5, 2018 and May 18, 2019. She also admitted one count of facilitating the entry into the State of a person she knew to be illegal along with 33 counts of money laundering the proceeds of crime.
Da Silva's co-accused, Ivanilce (Lisa) Vailones Fidelis pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts against her. Vailones Fidelis, of Castle Manor, Racecourse Road, Roscommon denied two counts of human trafficking. She pleaded not guilty to one count of organising prostitution during the same time period. Vailones Fidelis further pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of money laundering the proceeds of crime on dates between January 2015 and December 2020 and one count of removing proceeds of crime from the State.
The State alleges the two accused women trafficked two vulnerable Brazilian women for the purposes of exploiting those women and taking advantage of their vulnerability.'' The prosecution case is that the women couldn't "just walk away" from their situation as they were allegedly in a "debt bondage" situation whereby they owed money for their plane tickets and other expenses and were being charged "exorbitant" rent for their accommodation. Mr Orange said the jury would hear how the women did eventually go to gardaí and how the investigation against the two accused women then commenced.
The first complainant in the trial gave evidence yesterday via videolink, Speaking through an interpreter, the 35-year-old woman told the court that in 2019, she was told how she could come to Ireland to earn money. She told the court she was put in contact with two women named Lisa and Natalia, and that Lisa paid for her plane tickets to Ireland. The woman described how she was met by Natalia outside the airport. She said she was brought to Penneys to buy clothes, given an Irish sim card for her phone and then driven to an apartment in Portarlington.
She said it was the next morning that she was phoned by Lisa, who told her she would be sending men to the apartment.
The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury.