Modern slavery arrests after raids in Forest Gate and Romford
- Credit: MPS
Five men and a woman have been arrested for modern slavery offences following police raids.
Officers targeted properties in Forest Gate and Romford as part of a wider operation across London and Essex against an eastern European crime gang trafficking people from Poland.
The warrants were executed on Tuesday morning, February 9, and carried out with help from officers from the territorial support group.
A brothel was raided by police in Hayes as part of the operation.
Those arrested are aged between 30 and 55. The offences include suspicion of holding a person in slavery, human trafficking, controlling prostitution and money laundering.
Det Supt Andy Furphy said: "This investigation will continue as we look to find everyone involved and uncover the true scale of this illegal operation.
"Unfortunately, this type of exploitation is still happening across London and the UK. The Met’s modern slavery team works around the clock to identify people involved in human trafficking and forced labour, and we play a role in protecting and supporting hundreds of victims each year."
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He appealed to the public to report modern slavery, adding reports will always be taken seriously.
"Often those affected do not see themselves as potential victims of sexual exploitation and many will have been coerced into this life to make money for an organised crime network.
"We believe there are victims of modern slavery in every borough across London and the public may encounter them every day, possibly without realising," Det Supt Furphy said.
Besides being sexually exploited, victims have been found working in construction, domestic servitude, agriculture, cannabis factories, car washes, barbers and nail bars.
Victims are often told the police and authorities can't be trusted and with limited English are unable to seek help if they want to.
Call The Salvation Army’s 24-hour confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733 to get support to anyone you suspect might be a victim. You can also report a suspicion on the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.
Report to police online at met.police.uk or call 101. In an emergency dial 999.