Bogside brothel location revealed

THE Sentinel can today reveal 208 Kular Court as the exact location of a Londonderry brothel where men paid £70 to have sex with the victims of sex trafficking during 2008 and 2009.

Women of various nationalities were trafficked to the Bogside brothel from England via Stranraer. They were forced under threat of violence to rotate between at least five brothels in Belfast, Newry and Londonderry.

The location of the Londonderry premises has now been revealed by Mr Justice Stephens in his judgement against brothel keeper Rong Chen and her accomplices Simon Dempsey and Jason Owen Hinton who were last month convicted of prostitution offences at the Belfast Crown Court.

Chen, the court heard, had bullied women into sex slavery by telling them her boyfriend was a member of a powerful Triad gang.

The victims were recruited for the Londonderry brothel through disingenuous but alluring offers of £220 per week nannying, cleaning and babysitting jobs which were placed by Chen in Chinese language newspapers in England.

According to Mr Justice Stephens: “One brothel was in Londonderry at 208 Kular Court, Londonderry.”

He said Chen had also provided brothel housekeepers to cook, clean and administrate the various flats.

“The business enterprise involved thinly veiled advertisements being placed in newspapers seeking clients for these establishments,” he said.

“The advertisements would contain mobile phone numbers and when the customers would call that number arrangements would be made including fixing prices.

“Thereafter you would inform the brothel housekeepers of those arrangements.

“Each brothel had at least one prostitute working, but often there were two. The opening hours were from 10am to midnight, seven days per week. Customers normally paid £70 for 20 to 30 minutes.

“You would visit the premises and collect the money. You maintained the properties and provided food for the women working in each brothel,” he added.

After the women were tricked into coming to Northern Ireland they were coerced, threatened and ferried around the province to have paid sex, against their will, with local men.

One victim was taken upon her arrival in Belfast to Londonderry by a Chinese man, said Mr Justice Stephens.

Another spent two weeks working in Belfast as a prostitute.

“You then told her to go to the brothel in Londonderry where she also worked as a prostitute. After one week in Londonderry you ordered her to go back to the Newry brothel. She arrived in Newry on May 17, 2009,” said the judge.

Last month the Sentinel reported DUP MLA Jim Wells’ claim that young women are being locked in filthy cell-like rooms in Londonderry and forced to have sex with up to 40 men a day.

Mr Wells said that at any given time, there are between 170 and 180 victims of sex trafficking in Northern Ireland.

He made the comments during a recent debate at the Assembly on the second stage of the Criminal Justice Bill which introduces new offences aimed at preventing and combating human trafficking and protecting its victims.

And a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) report also claimed that women were tricked into coming to Northern Ireland to “carry out cleaning and nannying jobs but were forced into prostitution through extreme violence” by Triad gangs in Londonderry and Belfast.

In June a major cross-border vice bust involving raids on over 120 premises - including addresses in Londonderry and Donegal - resulted in a number of arrests and the liberation of at least three suspected victims of human trafficking.