TWO women have been arrested after police searched suspected brothels.
A 23-year-old woman and one aged 28 were reported to the procurator fiscal after police used search warrants in Aberdeen on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
The raids were part of Operation Maple, an ongoing strategy to target drugs and anti-social behaviour.
Yesterday police seized around £75,000 worth of cannabis from Aberdeen City Centre, in addition to more than £1,000 of other controlled drugs and more than £5,000 in cash seized as part of the operation in the city this month.
Six men, aged 17, 22, 25, 34, 35 and 51, and one woman aged 35 have been reported to the procurator fiscal in relation to drugs offences.
Police urged people to contact them if they suspect an address is being used as a brothel.
Detective Inspector Stephen Beattie said: “Police Scotland recognises that there may be potential for antisocial behaviour or drug and alcohol abuse around prostitution in the city.
“By working with partners we aim to minimise the impact of prostitution, reduce the risk of harm experienced by individuals involved in it and those who may be victims of sexual exploitation.
“We are very aware of the links brothels, and prostitution in general, can have to serious and organised crime and the fact not all those working in this industry do so through choice and that some may be controlled by others who force them into this type of work.
“It is for these reasons that when we take enforcement action at a brothel, we always ensure we remain focused on the welfare of anyone found to be working there and that they are afforded the opportunity to disclose to us if they are there under duress.
“Anyone making such a disclosure is referred to appropriate victim support services who can offer assistance to the worker in an effort to help them escape the situation they find themselves in.”
He said it is often common for those linked to brothels to rent the properties for short periods of time and offer inflated rental payments in order to secure the premises.
The detective urged anyone with concerns or suspicions, especially those involved in the property rental market in Aberdeen, to contact police.
Operation Maple, which has been running in the city since 2010, involves a variety of partner agencies, including Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and the Scottish Government. Support and funding is provided by the Aberdeen Alcohol and Drug Partnership.
The latest phase of the campaign has seen work carried out across the city including in the west end, city centre, Bridge of Don, Kittybrewster and Rosemount areas.
Inspector Graeme Coutts said: “Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe and Operation Maple aims to focus on those who involve themselves in violence, drugs and anti-social behaviour.
“Vital to the operation’s continued success is the funding which comes from the Aberdeen Alcohol and Drug Partnership.
“This provides for important intervention work with people brought into custody and focuses on opportunities that partners can provide in relation to drugs, financial debt and advice on future employment in an effort to divert them away from a life of crime. There have been 10 referrals to drug and alcohol counselling services this month.”
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