Yesterday, the Court of Vila Nova de Famalicão sentenced three persons for crimes of trafficking in human beings and money laundering, with twelve, eight and six years imprisonment.
This was the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF – Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras), which committed to trial 15 defendants before the panel of Judges of Vila Nova de Famalicão. The court considered as proven 12 crimes of trafficking in human beings and 1 of money laundering.
The issue was the recruitment and trafficking in of women with South-American origin who were afterwards explored by the group that forced them to prostitution-related performances in nightclubs in Santo Tirso and Famalicão. The head of the group, as well as the manager and a South-American recruiter were given prison sentences.
Three defendants were acquitted and the other 9 were given 5-14 months suspended prison sentences. Among these defendants there was a case of conviction of a banking institution officer on grounds of collaboration with money laundering activities resulting from the criminal practice.
The deconstruction of the criminal structure that operated in Famalicão and Santo Tirso between 2007 and 2009 was performed by SEF on an action carried out in January 8th 2009, which culminated with the arrest of the main defendants and the sealing of the two nightclubs.