By Maria McCann
Four women have been rescued by police investigating a UK wide human trafficking network.
Two men have also been arrested by the PSNI following searches in east Belfast and Banbridge on Thursday 25th May.
The 20 year old man was arrested in Belfast where one woman was rescued. The other arrest of a man and rescue of three women took place in Banbridge.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bell said: “The two men aged 20 and 28 were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and money laundering and are currently assisting us with our enquiries.
The arrests are part of an extensive investigation into an organised criminal gang with eastern European links.
The searches were carried out at properties on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast and at Kenlis Street in Banbridge on Thursday. A further search was conducted in London by our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, however no further victims were located or arrests made.
“PSNI are committed to tackling those involved in human trafficking and taking the unfortunate victims of this despicable trade to safety. To help us do this we require the public to be aware of what is going on around them and to report anything they believe to be suspicious. We will act on any information received and continue to target these criminal gangs. Anyone with any concerns or information about trafficking or any other criminal activity should contact their local police on 101..”