Published Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Organised Crime Branch officers raid an apartment complex in Belfast. (© PA)
Sandra Polewska, Milena Tarnowska - both aged 23 - and Marta Kozakowska, 27, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. They also faced a charge of possession of criminal property.
Kozakowska admitted a third offence of obstructing police by swallowing a mobile phone SIM card when police entered their apartment.
The women were arrested at an apartment in Alfred Street on Tuesday, but a lawyer for the defence said the accused were not exploited and had been working for their own gains.
All three were given two month suspended sentences after the judge accepted that the women were not involved in human trafficking.
Polewska claimed to be a student who had visited Northern Ireland six or seven times to work as a prostitute, advertising her services on an escort website.
Tarnowska told police she arrived for "fun and socialising" during a two-week stay before returning to get married in Poland.
But Kozakowska, who had been in Northern Ireland since last November, also admitted providing sexual services.
She was said to have taken calls and bookings at the apartment because she spoke better English than the other two.
Over 120 police raids were carried out as part of Operation Quest and five people detained in Northern Ireland after more than 20 properties were searched across the region.
Two other women arrested in the operation have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Three suspected victims of human trafficking were rescued and taken to places of safety where specially trained officers have conducted interviews with them.
A man and two women were also arrested in the Republic during the cross-border raids, which involved a total of over 370 police officers - around 170 PSNI officers and over 200 members of An Garda Síochána - and took weeks of planning.
Law enforcement officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, Europol and the UK Border Agency are assisting the PSNI and An Garda Síochána in the operation.
Police and gardaí also seized a significant number of documents, phones and computers as well as cash.
© UTV News