Four women have been fined €200 each this weekend, after being arrested in a brothel in Galway over the weekend.
Gardaí outlined how they believed the four had been trafficked into Ireland by a criminal gang, at a special sitting of Galway District Court yesterday afternoon.
The women - aged 21, 22, 23 and 30 - who are all of Romanian descent, denied they were working for pimps and instead claimed they were acting alone to raise money for their respective families.
They were arrested at an apartment at An Larnach, Bohermore, a short distance from the city centre, on Saturday night and admitted to operating a brothel there.
The arrests were made directly after Gardaí questioned a man leaving the apartment, who said he had just paid for sexual favours.
Gardaí had been carrying out surveillance on the apartment over the last number of weeks.
They did not know how long the women were in Ireland, but they do know that they had been in Mayo last week and after spending a week in Galway, they were planning on heading to Wexford next week.
Detective Willie Byrne said he did not believe the women when they told him they worked alone. He told the judge it was his belief the women were "under the control of Dublin or Belfast-based pimps."
Gardaí confiscated €5,000 cash from the four women.
Judge Furlong convicted and fined each of them €200, and asked Gardaí to put them in contact with the relevant organisations who would help them out.