A premises at William Street in Waterford city was raided by gardai on Wednesday morning as part of a major investigation into prostitution and the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation. 

The raid was one of a number of searches which took place simultaneously in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales in relation to the activities of an organised crime gang suspected of involvement in prostitution and suspected trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation.

As a result of the raids, seven people were arrested in the Republic on suspicion of organising and managing prostitution. Another man was arrested by the PSNI in Co Down and a man and a woman were detained by police in Wales. No arrests were made in Waterford.

A total of nine brothels were searched throughout the Republic, in Waterford, Kilkenny, Cavan, Drogheda, Athlone, Mullingar, Sligo, Enniscorthy and Newbridge. Six further locations in the Carlow area were also searched. Four females (aged mid 20’s to early 50’s) and three males (in their early 20’s and early 30’s). All arrested were detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice act 1984. 

Units involved were the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda National Immigration Bureau, Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, as well as Divisional Garda Units from Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare.