A Brazilian dad-of-two who made more than £150,000 trafficking women between flats in Scotland for prostitution was yesterday (Tues) jailed for three years.
Jose Barbosa has admitted trafficking women and transferring criminal money.
The 44-year-old was seen travelling between more than a dozen flats in Kirkcaldy, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk, Alva and Dundee.
He used an alias, a Spanish ID card and a fake employers’ letter to rent out properties, which he would then sub-let to women who came from Brazil and Ecuador.
Undercover police saw him travelling between flats in Kirkcaldy, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk, Alva and Dundee.
Yesterday judge Lord Matthews told Barbosa: “You are a family man with no previous convictions and have pleaded guilty to serious offences involving the exploitation of women resulting in you obtaining a significant amount of money.
“These offences were well organised and while you see yourself as a victim, you are sadly deluded in that regard.”
The court heard that the prosecution accepted that Barbosa was not responsible for bringing the women, who ranged in age from 28 to 48, into the country.
Lord Matthews added: “It is also accepted these women were not induced or coerced into this activity..”
Defence counsel Gail Gianni told the Court: “There was no coercion whatsoever with any of these sex workers. What he did was trafficking – transporting these females round the country and living in part on the earnings of prostitutes.”
She told the court that Barbosa came to Britain after running up debts of £100,000 in Brazil when a car business failed.
Advocate depute Mark McGuire, prosecuting, said a police probe was sparked by a tip-off in August 2013 that Barbosa, who lived in Kirkcaldy, was involved in organised prostitution.
Mr McGuire said: “The intelligence was to the effect that the accused was involved in the transportation of females between properties he had rented for the purposes of prostitution and would advertise the sexual services they provided on adult websites.”
The prosecutor said there was no evidence that the women had been coerced into prostitution and the trafficking was restricted to taking them between addresses.
Police had a surveillance operation, dubbed Operation Wolfberry, to monitor Barbosa and officers noted “a steady stream of male callers” at flats.
Undercover officers were also deployed to make contact with women advertising as “Amazing Gabriella” and “Hot Sara”.
Mr McGuire said Barbosa would “frequently visit several of the flats in one day”, adding: “Often he would go to various banks and deposit large quantities of money in notes immediately after leaving the various flats.”
The flats were later raided by police, and the women caught there said Barbosa had “arranged accommodation” for them and said they had paid him a weekly rent, as well as fees for posting adverts online and transporting them between flats.
The raids also found sex workers at all of the flats, except the one.
A search of Barbosa’s home address found tenancy agreements linking him to the rented flats and documentation connecting him to placing adverts on adult websites.
Police inquiries revealed Barbosa appeared to have no legitimate source of income, but found that £150,852 had gone through bank accounts which represented the proceeds of “the trafficking operation”.
Barbosa could face court action to strip him of criminal profits