Couple ran vice ring across Scotland

Picture: Police Scotland
Picture: Police Scotland
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A BRAZILIAN mum has admitted living off the earnings of prostitutes in a vice-ring that operated across Scotland.

Ana Calder transferred almost £17,000 from the proceeds of prostitution into her bank account to pay for her own living expenses.

Ms Calder lived in Kirkcaldy, Fife, with her six-year-old son and partner Jose Barbosa.

He was jailed for three years for trafficking vice girls between flats in Scotland for prostitution and transferring criminal money.

A tip-off led to undercover police launching “Operation Wolfberry” which saw flats in towns including Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Dundee being raided and eight people removed.

The seven women and one man were mainly Brazilian but some were from Europe and London.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard yesterday that Calder, who lived in Mill Street but has now moved to Windsor, had been financially dependent on Barbosa.

She admitted transferring £16,925 from the proceeds of prostitution into her Santander bank account between August 12 2013 and February 20 2014, contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Depute fiscal Siobhan Monks told the court that police had received information that Barbosa was involved in prostitution and arranged advertising on adult websites.

“Barbosa would sub-let properties to these females in return for weekly rent,” she said.

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“Barbosa was trafficking females between various rental properties and he would leave these properties and make his way to various banks to deposit money.”

The money was being put into an account in the name of Ana Calder, Miss Monks added.

“At that time she had no legitimate source of income,” she said.

Miss Monks said both Barbosa and Calder were seen depositing the money and that paperwork showed Calder was the account holder.

“Their daily living costs came from the proceeds of prostitution,” she added.

Defence solicitor David Cranston said Calder accepted she had entered into a relationship with a man who was effectively a “prostitutes’ agent”.

“She was supported by him and allowed him to use her bank account,” he said.

“There’s no suggestion he coerced women to work as prostitutes but he assisted them in finding accommodation in this country and with advertising.”

Detective Inspector Paul Grainger, who led Operation Wolfberry, said the enquiry involved around 60 officers and took two months.

He confirmed none of the prostitutes involved had been coerced but had been treated as victims by police and other agencies and had been offered support before being allowed to go their own way.

“There were no signs that anybody was under obvious physical duress,” he said.