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Human trafficking victim safeguarded

25 Jun 2020

A woman has been safeguarded and three people arrested after another police operation targeting organised crime gangs suspected of being behind the Luton sex industry.

Officers executed a warrant in the Round Green area of the town yesterday (Wednesday) and arrested two men and a woman on suspicion of keeping a brothel.

A man in his 40s from Luton, a man in his 30s from Kent and a woman in her 20s from Luton have all subsequently been released on bail, pending further enquiries.

A Romanian woman identified at the address is being supported through the national referral mechanism for victims of modern slavery.

This marks the latest action police and partners such as Luton Council and local charity Azalea have taken to disrupt the organised criminal networks suspected of running brothels in Luton and protect potential victims.

Last week a multi-agency operation was carried out at three addresses in the town, which identified six suspected victims of human trafficking.

Eleven women were safeguarded during another major operation led by Bedfordshire Police back in December.

Sergeant Fiona Dawson said: “Thousands of women working in this industry in the UK have been trafficked here.

“These women are usually made false promises about life and work in the UK before being exploited and coerced into the sex trade.

“The treatment that these women receive is vile and we are determined to root out the criminal gangs carrying out this exploitation.

“People who use these brothels should be under no illusions about the exploitation and human misery they are funding.”

There are some signs to spot that a property may be being used as a brothel:

  • These brothels are usually newly-acquired properties, often privately rented flats or houses in towns and cities.
  • Budget hotels or holiday properties are also sometimes used.
  • There could be limited activities usually associated with new people moving into a property, for example, no signs of removals.
  • Limited or scarcely furnished homes, it might look like no one actually lives there.
  • Multiple women living at the address, or numbers of women being brought to and taken from the address by someone else.
  • Multiple vehicles visiting the property at any one time.
  • Many frequent visitors, usually male, who don’t stay for long periods of time.
  • Many of the women forced to work in these brothels are Eastern European or Chinese.

If you have information about a suspected brothel, please report it to police on 101 or via the online reporting centre on the Bedfordshire Police website.
You can also report information anonymously via the Modern Slavery Helpline, on 08000 121 700.

Azalea is a local charity working with the victims of human trafficking. For advice or to report any concerns contact them on 01582 733200.

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