Woman arrested on suspicion of controlling prostitution after raids in Essex

The NSPCC are worried that online grooming will increase if Facebook introduce the end-to-end encryp

The NSPCC are worried that online grooming will increase if Facebook introduce the end-to-end encryption service Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Essex police have arrested a 49-year-old woman on suspicion of controlling prostitution for gain following investigations into suspected brothels across the county.

Detectives from the force's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit executed warrants in Colchester and Brentford as part of its investigation focusing on reports of young women being trafficked into UK and then forced to work as prostitutes.

A woman, from Brentwood, was arrested on Wednesday night, November 20, during a police raid in the town's High Street.

A second woman at the house was detained for immigration offences.

Another warrant was carried out at a house in St Peter's Street in Colchester where a woman was given safety advice but no further arrests were made.

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DC Nicola Fry, who co-ordinated the police operation said: "Tonight's warrant - and the warrants that this team has carried out since its inception earlier this year - show the dedication and determination of our unit to stop the exploitation of vulnerable people.

"This intense investigation has seen us support victims who have alleged these crimes against them and arrests across the county and beyond."

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Officers have been supported by a Victim Navigator from the international charity Justice and Care.

The Navigator, who joins officers on all their modern slavery investigations, ensures all victims of these offences are supported throughout their experience and helped adjust to the world outside servitude.

A 39-year-old woman from Southend, a 53-year-old woman from Basildon, a 30-year-old man and 34-year-old woman from Poplar and a 47-year-old man from Finsbury Park have been previously arrested in connection to the police investigation and released on bail until Monday, January 2.

A 48-year-old woman from Bromley, who was arrested on Monday August 5, will face no further action.

A 67-year-old man from Herne Bay in Kent, arrested on the same day, has been released under investigation.

DC Fry added: "We won't stop in our mission to protect those who are at risk of this kind, or any kind of exploitation.

"We would encourage anyone with information about human trafficking or modern slavery offences to call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also speak to Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111."

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