Seven arrested following trafficking operation

Seven people were arrested following a multi-force and multi-agency operation held yesterday, Wednesday 21st July, targeting people trafficking and prostitution.

Suffolk Constabulary led the operation which saw officers from Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Wiltshire and Devon and Cornwall execute five warrants at premises in Ipswich, Norwich, Harwich, Swindon and Tedburn St Mary in Devon. The UK Border Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service Complex Case Unit and the UK Human Trafficking Centre were also involved. Specialist officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s (SOCA) Vulnerable Persons Team were also utilised, as they are experienced in interviewing trafficking victims.

Seven arrests were made as a result of the operation.

Three females aged 21, 27 and 45 years old were arrested in relation to the Ipswich raid, two males aged 24 and 39 years old and a 23-year-old female were arrested in relation to the Norwich raid and a 22-year-old female was arrested in the Chelmsford area.

All seven are of Eastern European origin and have all been arrested on suspicion of:

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1. Conspiracy to Traffic person(s) into the UK for Sexual Exploitation contrary to S 57 Sexual Offences Act 2003.

2. Conspiracy to Traffic person(s) within the UK for Sexual Exploitation contrary to S 58 Sexual Offences Act 2003.

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3. Conspiracy to Manage / Keep / Act / Assist in the Management of a Brothel for Prostitution contrary to S33A Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Five victims were also located following the searches. Two were located in relation to the Ipswich raid, one in relation to the Norwich raid and two in relation to the Swindon raid.

These victims are currently been engaged with by suitably trained staff and afforded the best possible care.

SOCA are working closely with the constabularies involved in this operation and other partners to manage victim care and welfare issues.

No persons were located at the Harwich or Tedburn St Mary premises but investigations are continuing.

Detective Inspector Bernie Morgan said: “I am extremely pleased with the enforcement that has taken place.

Victims of sexual exploitation have been identified and will be provided with the best possible care.

“Members of an organised crime group have been arrested and will be interviewed regarding their involvement in this investigation.

“Through collaborative work with respective Constabularies, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the United Kingdom Border Agency

(UKBA) we have shown that regional borders do not affect the working capabilities of law enforcement agencies committed to investigating serious crime.”

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