Five arrested during Ilford dawn raid in connection with sexual exploitation and international human trafficking ring
PUBLISHED: 15:42 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:42 20 November 2019
Five people - three men and two women - have been arrested at a house in Ilford on suspicion of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and money laundering.
The early morning raid was one of five executed across the UK early on Tuesday, November 19, in a joint operation with Romanian authorities hoping to break up an international human trafficking ring.
The UK branch of the operation was led by South Yorkshire Police with simultaneous activity in Romania, in a bid to try and identify potential victims of human trafficking and offenders.
Properties in Staffordshire, Norfolk, London and Northumbria were searched, in conjunction with local policing resources.
The teams were also supported by the National Crime Agency, and specialist operations units from the north and east of the country.
A 33-year-old man was also arrested at a property in Newcastle. Two men, aged 38 and 19, were arrested from a house in Stoke-on-Trent and a 28 year-old man from a house in the Norwich.
All have been taken to police stations in the area where they were arrested and are still being questioned by officers.
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A total of eight women, aged between 18 and 30, were identified as being potential victims of trafficking.
They have been taken to a place of safety where they will be spoken to and provided with immediate care and support.
Similar activity took place in Romania while the UK warrants were being executed, resulting in the arrest of a 37-year-old man.
Det Insp Claire Mayfield, leading the investigation for South Yorkshire Police, said: "Protecting the most vulnerable people in our society, including those who have been brought into the country for the sole purpose of exploitation, and identifying offenders involved in this serious crime type, is our absolute priority.
"With the support of our colleagues at the other assisting forces, specialist policing resources and the authorities in Romania, we have been able to significantly disrupt a suspected organised crime group and identify potential offenders.
"A key part of today was also about identifying potential victims of trafficking and providing immediate safeguarding.
"The people we identified today were taken to places of safety where they were offered immediate, practical support.
"As the investigation progresses, they will be spoken to and offered the relevant long-term support."