Belfast Telegraph

Pizza deliver man accused of controlling Belfast prostitution and human trafficking handed web ban

By Alan Erwin

A pizza delivery driver accused of human trafficking and controlling prostitution in Belfast is to be banned from setting up any websites, a High Court judge ordered today.

The prohibition was imposed on Marian Ilie as he was granted bail on charges linked to his alleged role in establishing online escort agency services.

Prosecutors claimed he has been involved in transporting women from Dublin to Northern Ireland on up to eight occasions.

The 33-year-old Romanian national, of Donegall Avenue in Belfast, was arrested last week as part of an investigation into a suspected crime gang with links to Scotland and Sweden.

Searches were carried out across the city by police who said they have so far spoken to five women.

Inquiries are also being made with EU law enforcement agency Europol in a bid to identify other suspects in the case, a detective disclosed.

Ilie is charged with human trafficking and controlling the activities of one alleged prostitute since July 2017.

He denies any wrongdoing, claiming instead that he was paid £80 to collect the woman and her husband at Dublin airport. 

Defence lawyers argued that Ilie willingly informed police about picking the couple up.

A previous court was told he described himself as the "IT guy" who agreed to set up a website for the alleged victim after being asked by her husband

But his legal team insisted there was nothing illegal about escort services involving no payment for sex.

Ilie was also said to have provided online and computer help to Romanian nationals with less command of the English language.

He has lived with his family in Northern Ireland for five years, working 60 hours a week delivering pizzas for a well-known firm, the court heard.

Granting bail, Mr Justice McAlinden banned Ilie from engaging in any activities connected to setting up or administering any websites.

With the accused said to have debts of up to £5,000, he must also take active steps to engage in gambling addiction therapy.

Other conditions include a prohibition in leaving Northern Ireland and being restricted to driving a car if he is alone or with his family.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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