Women ‘shoved into coffins’ to scare them into prostitution

Women and girls as young as 15 were subjected to bizarre rituals to scare them before being forced into life of prostitution in Ireland...

Young women and girls were subjected to bizarre rituals to scare them into a life of prostitution, a court has heard.

Some were shoved into coffins and witnessed chicken slaughter before they were trafficked from Nigeria and coerced into a large and lucrative prostitution ring run by a married couple.

Irish-born Thomas Carroll, 48, and his South African wife Shamiela Clark, 32, ran a complex and organised prostitution business in Ireland, which earned more than one million euros in a year.

Clark, who went by the name of Carmen, ran a ‘call centre’ where she co-ordinated the brothels and took calls from clients, organised accommodation and placed adverts in newspapers, the court heard.

Most of the young women and girls, one aged just 15, came from South America and Nigeria, with many not knowing they would have to work as prostitutes to pay off the huge debts they were told they owed their traffickers.

When many women, who were not trafficked by the defendants, arrived at different locations around Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, they believed they would find work as hairdressers or seamstresses. Instead they were sent to a rented apartment and put to work as prostitutes.

The couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to control prostitution for gain – Clark was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Cardiff Crown Court while Ms Carroll was freed immediately because of the time she had spent in custody awaiting trial.

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