Police swoop on suspected Ilford child trafficking ring

TWENTY-EIGHT children have been taken into police protection after a series of early morning raids aimed at cracking down on child trafficking gangs.

Police and child protection experts swooped on 16 addresses in Ilford, believed to be linked to a Romanian-based gang.

A three-year-old boy was taken to hospital with bruising and facial injuries.

Three adults were arrested on suspicion of assault and neglect of a child, two for being wanted on warrant and two on suspicion of benefit fraud. The children, all from the Romanian Roma community, are being assessed to discover if they have been subject to exploitation or neglect.

Chief Insp Colin Carswell, of Operation Golf, which was set up to tackle the trafficking issue, said: “The aim of today’s operation was to safeguard and identify victims, safeguard and identify any ‘new’ victims not previously identified, secure evidence, arrest suspects, and minimise any community impact that might occur. “The trafficking and exploitation of children for forced criminality is a gross violation of their human rights.

“Our primary purpose, in tandem with our expert colleagues from the Specialist Crime Directorate, local authority and health trust, is to ensure these vulnerable children get any professional help they may require to remain safe and free from abuse.”