DUBLIN (AP) – Police say several hundred officers in both parts of Ireland are mounting a crackdown on prostitution, raiding 140 suspected brothels and pimps’ homes.
The Republic of Ireland’s police force says the operation followed lengthy surveillance of brothels and sought to target the pimps managing prostitutes, most of them women from Eastern Europe and Africa, in more than a dozen cities and towns. The swoops started at dawn Tuesday and spread Wednesday.
Three suspected pimps were arrested in the Irish Republic, five others in the British territory of Northern Ireland. Detectives seized extensive records from computers and cellphones.
Officers in both forces say prostitutes themselves were not targeted for arrest, because they are considered victims of exploitation.
In Belfast, three women in their 20s were charged Wednesday with running brothels.