A joint operation between the Metropolitan Police and Romanian authorities has led to the arrest of 17 people suspected of being involved in an international human trafficking ring.
Three women and 14 men were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, Class A drug offences and stungun offences after police carried out a series of warrants in the early hours of this morning.
The Met’s Central Specialist Crime Vulnerability Investigations Team was supported by Romanian police officers to execute the warrants at 16 addresses across London and Essex.
Police recovered 29 potential victims of human trafficking, all women aged from 20-40 years, from the properties, who have been taken to safety.
The suspects are aged between 17 and 50 years old and remain in police custody.
Authorities in Romania carried out an additional four searches and arrested a man in Constanta.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard McDonagh from the Met’s Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit said the force recognised the “seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings”.
“Today’s synchronised operational activity spanned 16 addresses in east London and four addresses in Romania with the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims.”
A UK representative for the Romanian police said the joint mission, Operation Kelang, showed the “excellent bilateral cooperation” between the two countries.
They added: “Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward.”
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