Ipswich: Suspected sex worker found in anti-slavery raid in Shaftesbury Square

Man charged after armed police called

Man charged after armed police called - Credit: Archant

A woman is being cared for by police today after officers involved in an anti-slavery crackdown swooped at a property in Ipswich.

Police armed with a warrant went to an address in Shaftesbury Square, between Bond Street and Grimwade Street, yesterday as part of an investigation into prostitution in the town.

A female in her 20s, who is understood to come from the European mainland, was discovered at the maisonette.

The woman has been taken to what is deemed to be a safe location where specially-trained officers are speaking to her.

The raid followed information received by police which suggested women may have been forced into sexual activity.

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Although no arrests have been made at this stage enquiries are continuing.

The swoop came under the national banner of Operation Eagle.

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Officers in Suffolk and Norfolk are currently working to raise awareness of human exploitation which often equates to modern-day slavery in 21st century Britain.

There are a variety of types of human trafficking – including sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude. Anti-slavery day aims to raise awareness of these issues which are often hidden from public view, even within Norfolk and Suffolk.

Police are carrying out proactive work and other activities to liaise with communities and partner agencies who may to come into contact with people who are vulnerable to exploitation.

The idea is to identify individuals who may have been trafficked and to provide safe and appropriate accommodation, health and welfare support to those in need.

Human trafficking covers the recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of people through threats, use of force or other forms of coercion including abduction, deception, psychological or physical abuse, the abuse of power or the giving or receiving of payments.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Mattin said; “For there to be an impact on human trafficking we need true multi-agency engagement and partnership working. Victims of human trafficking rarely come forward to police due to threats or intimidation, fear, or lack of understanding that they are victims, but it is important that we make it known there is support and advice available and that trafficking complaints will be taken seriously.”

The Salvation Army are the main provider of services and assistance to human trafficking victims. Find out more by visiting www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/Trafficking.

It has a 24-hour confidential referral helpline – 0300 303 8151 – available seven days a week, or Suffolk Police can be contacted direct by telephoning 101.

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