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Two men have appeared before magistrates in Northern Ireland charged with a total of 50 offences following a joint investigation by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) and the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) into suspected human trafficking and labour exploitation.
In the past week, 20 Romanian nationals have been rescued by the police from two locations in county Armagh as part of an operation led by the PSNI, assisted by GLA officers.
The 14 men and six women ranged in age from 20 to 48 and had been working in a meat processing factory.
Detective Inspector Todd Clements from the Organised Crime Branch said: “This has been a fast-moving and complex operation which may continue for some time. The 20 people we have identified as potential victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation are in places of safety now. Our inquiries are continuing.”
Both men each face 12 people trafficking and 12 forced labour charges. They have both also been charged with acting as a gangmaster without a licence. Both men deny the charges.
A third man was also arrested as part of the operation and has been released on police bail pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.