Two men were yesterday charged in court with trafficking in humans with the aim of prostitution. Both pleaded not guilty and the case will continue to be heard this morning.
The men Emanuel Bajada, 51 and his son Victor Philip Bajada, 27 were accused also of having organised or financed a group of two persons or more with the aim of committing a criminal act; of having lived totally or partially off the earnings of prostitution; of having organised a brothel; and that as owners or administrators of Adam's Guesthouse in Ross Street, St Julians, and Pace's Guesthouse in St Agatha Street, Sliema allowed these premises to be used for prostitution.
Emanuel Bajada, a self-employed person and his son who works in a guesthouse said they resided at Adam's Guesthouse. The court refused bail and the two were remanded in custody at the Police headquarters in Floriana.
Explaining to the court, presided by magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna why the accused should not be granted bail, Superintendent Alexandra Mamo said the investigations were still going on and the police were still looking for another person who is involved in this case, apart from the fact that a number of Maltese will be witnesses for the prosecution.
Earlier, the court heard four Russian women and another from Kazakstan plead guilty to having knowingly aided and abetted the Bajadas in the alleged running of the brothel.
The Russian women are Evgenia Degtyareva, 26 who said she is a police officer; Natalia Zharenaya, 25, a sales person; Alla Bobrova, 18 and Irina Voronina, 38, both of them painters and plasterers. Svetlana Kovalenko, 31 an engineer is from Kazakstan.
The women who were assisted by legal aid Leslie Cuschieri pleaded guilty as charged and were set free on condition that they do not commit a crime within the next 12 months.
They are being held by the immigration police before they are brought to court this morning as witnesses for the prosecution.
Dr Chris Cardona is appearing for the Bajadas. The prosecution team is made up of Superintendent Alexandra Mamo and Inspectors Raymond Aquilina and Louise Calleja.