Saturday 24 August 2019

Couple arrested after woman 'held as a slave'

stock photo
stock photo

David Young and Rebecca Black

A couple have been arrested on suspicion of holding a woman as a domestic slave in Belfast for more than six years.

Police said the arrests were the first of their kind in Northern Ireland.

The suspected victim escaped the property where she was allegedly being held around 16 months ago, and alerted a member of the public, who contacted police.

An investigation has been running ever since and on Tuesday, officers moved to arrest the two suspects.

A 33-year-old man was detained in east Belfast.

A search was also carried out at a property and a number of documents and mobile phones were seized.

A 25-year-old woman was arrested in Scotland and was being taken back to Northern Ireland for questioning.

They were being held on suspicion of human trafficking offences for the purpose of domestic servitude.

The suspects are both from Africa, though from different countries.

PSNI Detective Inspector Mark Bell, head of the force's modern slavery and human trafficking unit, said: "This victim was brought to Northern Ireland and alleges this was going on for six years until it was brought to our attention."

He said that in the past 12 months, his team had investigated 59 potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, a marked increase from 36 the previous year.

Irish Independent

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