Portadown men in court on human trafficking charges

Ioan Lacatus arrives  at Lisburn Court
Ioan Lacatus arrives at Lisburn Court

Two men living in Portadown have appeared in court charged with multiple offences including human trafficking and labour exploitation.

Samuil Covaci (23) from Charles Street and Ioan Lacatus (31) from Hanover Street have been charged with 12 human trafficking offences, 12 forced labour offences and acting as an unlicensed gang-masters.

A detective told the court that he believed he could connect the two to the charges.

They were remanded in custody until August 29.

The charges come after 20 suspected victims of human trafficking were rescued by police on Monday.

The Romanians - 14 men and six women aged between the ages of 20 and 48 - were brought to safety from two locations during the past week.

PSNI officers have been working alongside the Gangmaster Licensing Authority, the UK Human Trafficking Centre and other agencies, in what they described as a “fast-moving and complex operation”.

They have also called in extra translators from England to help gather information from those rescued.

A third man, who is 27, also arrested as part of the operation, remains in police custody for questioning.