A Brazilian woman who was allegedly trafficked to Ireland to work in prostitution has told a jury that her plan every day was to end the day alive.
The woman was giving her evidence via video-link and through an interpreter at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial of Natalia Nogueira Da Silva and Ivanilce (Lisa) Vailones Fidelis.
The State alleges the two accused women trafficked two vulnerable Brazilian women for the purposes of exploiting them and taking advantage of their vulnerability “to such an extent as to cause the trafficked person to have no real or acceptable alternative but to submit to being trafficked”.
Ms Vailones Fidelis (46), of Castle Manor, Racecourse Road, Roscommon, has denied all 18 charges against her, including two counts of human trafficking, one count of organising prostitution and money laundering charges on dates between 2015 and 2020.
Ms Da Silva (32), of Cairn Hill View, Drumlish, Co Longford, has admitted 35 charges including organising prostitution, facilitating the entry into the state of an illegal person and money laundering. She has denied a single charge of human trafficking in 2019.
The woman told Garnet Orange SC prosecuting that she came to Ireland in 2018 after a friend advised her that she could help organise work for her. She said her friend gave her the name of Lisa and contact details.
Lisa then helped her organise her a passport, flights and an invitation letter to facilitate her entry into Ireland. She recalled getting picked up in Belfast Airport and being taken to Ballymahon, Co Longford.
Too dangerous to stay
She said she spent a week there because Lisa would tell her she had to move every week because it was too dangerous to stay.
The woman told the jury that she had expected to work in Ireland doing massages but that Lisa had advised her that she wouldn’t make much money from that. She started work the very next day following her arrival into Ireland.
She said Lisa would advise her that there was a customer at the door, either through message or a phone call and Lisa would have agreed with the client what service would be provided.
She said sometimes it would be “okay” with the client to just do massage but other times they would want more and she would get angry with Lisa because Lisa had agreed with clients that this would be the service provided.
The woman said she could have seven, eight or nine clients on a daily basis and they would each pay €100 to €150.
“I just expected to end the day alive. Sometimes there were drugs or they were aggressive. I would deny some things and they would get aggressive and I had no English to explain myself properly,” the woman continued.
When asked by Mr Orange what services they were paying for she replied “sex”. “Weird things. All of weird things relating to sex, humiliating things. Sometimes they agreed on the phone to do anal sex and things with food and fetishes”.
When asked if she ever agreed to do these things with the clients she replied “No”. She said: “The safe option for me was to just do that.”
She said that each week she had to pay €100 for the website that was used for clients – Escort Ireland. She would also have to pay her rent, which she said could range from €500 to €900. She also had to pay the driver who moved her to a different location every week.
She said that at the end of each week she counted the number of clients she had. This was based on a kiss emoji beside a client’s details on WhatsApp. She would tell Lisa the amount and then she had to lodge half that amount into an account, the details of which had been provided by Lisa.
She said Lisa made her delete the WhatsApp conversations and she had to send a screenshot to prove that she had deleted them.
The woman told Mr Orange that she never set up the profile on Escort Ireland because she had no English at the time and she said Lisa took care of the site.
“When I arrived she told me I needed to do this site and she organised a hotel room, clothes and a photographers for pictures. She paid for the pictures and told me I had to pay her back . She organised the style of it – school girl clothes, really small skirts, stockings and heels,” she said.
She told the jury of an occasion at Christmas when Lisa rented a house for all the girls to spend Christmas together. She said that was time she got to meet the person she had been speaking to on the phone – the person she knew as Lisa.
She said there were eight or nine girls there and drink and drugs were provided to them. She also met a woman called Natalia that day whom she had never met before.
Ms Da Silva has pleaded not guilty to one count of human trafficking a woman at an unknown location within the State, on dates between March 31st, 2019 and May 18th, 2019.
She has pleaded guilty in front of the jury to one count of organising prostitution at an unknown location within the State on dates between December 5th, 2018 and May 18th, 2019.
She has also admitted one count of facilitating the entry into the State of a person she knew to be illegal on March 31st, 2019 at Dublin Airport, along with 33 counts of money laundering the proceeds of crime on dates between March 2020 and May 2021.
Ms Vailones Fidelis has pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts against her.
She has denied two counts of human trafficking two women at various locations within the State on dates between December 2018 and May 2019. She has pleaded not guilty to one count of organising prostitution during the same time period.
Ms Vailones Fidelis has further pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of money laundering the proceeds of crime on dates between January 2015 and December 2020 and one count of removing proceeds of crime from the State during the same time period.
The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury.