Man banked over £150,000 after trafficking women between flats for prostitution

High Court, Edinburgh. Pic: Ian Georgeson.High Court, Edinburgh. Pic: Ian Georgeson.
High Court, Edinburgh. Pic: Ian Georgeson.
A South American man banked more than £150,000 after trafficking women between flats in Scotland for prostitution.

Jose Barbosa (44) used an alias, a Spanish ID card and a fake employers’ letter to rent out properties short term which he would sub-let to women.

A court heard that in August 2013 police had intelligence that Barbosa, using the alias of Alexander Marques, was involved in organised prostitution in Scotland.

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Advocate depute Mark 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 in 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”.

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The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Barbosa, a Brazilian, who lived in Mill Street, Kirkcaldy, had been given permission by the Irish authorities to study in their country up until next year.

Mr McGuire said the surveillance operation showed Barbosa regularly travelled to flats in Pratt Street, Kirkcaldy; Rumblingwell, Dunfermline; Avon Street, Hamilton; Barnton Street, Stirling; Oswald Street, Falkirk; Atholl Street, Perth; Southcroft, Alva and Malcom Street, Dundee, sometimes in the company of females.

“Often he would go to various banks and deposit large quantities of money in notes immediately after leaving the various flats,” said the prosecutor.

“He would frequently visit several of the flats in one day,” he added.

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On one occasion Barbosa was seen to buy a bed base which was taken to the flat in Kirkcaldy.

Undercover officers were given a price for sex. Earlier this year Barbosa was seen to collect one woman, Adriano Fidalgo, from a park and ride complex at Dunfermline before driving her to the flat in Perth.

Days later an undercover officer met her using her working title of “Amazing Julia” at a flat in Kirkcaldy.

Mr McGuire said: “Sexual services were on offer and a price quoted.”

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A search of Barbosa’s home address found tenancy agreements linking him to the rented flars and documentation connecting him advert placement on adult websites. Raids also found sex workers at all the flats, except that in Alva.

Mr McGuire said: “The sex workers confirmed that they had not been coerced into prostitution by the accused but that he had arranged accommodation for them and that they paid him a weekly rent for use of the flats.”

“The accused would also arrange advertisements on adult websites and transport than between properties for a fee,” said the prosecutor.

Police inquiries revealed that Barbosa appeared to have no legitimate source of income. He did not get a salary or state benefits but large cash deposits were made into various bank accounts.

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Mr McGuire said that £150,852 had gone through bank accounts which had no legitimate source and represented the proceeds of “the trafficking operation”.

Barbosa had earlier admitted arranging and facilitating the movement of women for prostitution between August 2013 and May this year and transferring criminal property but his case was sent by a sheriff to the High Court which has greater powers of sentencing.

Mr McGuire said Barbosa faced court action to strip him of crime profits.

The judge, Lord Matthews, deferred sentence on Barbosa, who is in custody until later this month at the High Court in Glasgow.