Two men have been arrested and five potential victims identified as part of an investigation into an alleged prostitution ring.
Two suspected brothels in Violet Street, Normanton and Uttoxeter New Road, Derby, were visited this morning along with flats at Station Court, Burton.
One man has been arrested in Burton town while a second man was arrested at the Uttoxeter New Road house.
Both men, aged 32 and 27, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic with a view to exploitation. They remain in custody in Derby and will be questioned.
During the warrants, we found five women in the Derby houses whom we believe to be victims. We suspect they have been trafficked around the UK to be exploited. They have been taken to a reception centre where they are being offered specialist support by partner agencies.
The operation is being supported by Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, the Red Cross, HM Revenue and Customs, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Department for Work and Pensions and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.
DS Gareth Smethem leads Operation Wilberforce, a specialist police team which works to identify and support modern slavery victims. He said:
“We take allegations of trafficking and modern slavery very seriously. Victims may be forced to work in a variety of industries or activities, including factory work, at car washes or in the sex industry. They often receive little or no pay and are found to be living in sub-standard conditions. In many cases, those controlling the victims take their passports and other documents so they have no way of escaping the situation they find themselves in.
“I would ask anyone who suspects modern slavery in their community to contact us.”
Madeline Farrar, senior emergency response officer for the British Red Cross in Derbyshire, said:
“At the request of Derbyshire Constabulary and the local authorities, the Red Cross is providing practical help and emotional support to anyone evacuated as a result of today’s anti-human trafficking operation, at a place of safety.
“Our trained staff and volunteers are on hand to provide emotional support, as well as practical necessities such as clothing, refreshments and first aid.
“The British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts.”
Andy Thomas, Head of Community Safety and Integration at Derby City Council said:
“Derby City Council are pleased with the outcome of the operation this morning. We will continue to work closely with the police and other public, private and voluntary organisation partners to disrupt perpetrators, to identify potential victims and support victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery. Individuals at risk of trafficking and slavery are amongst the most vulnerable people in our city. The city council will continue to work alongside our partners to ensure wherever possible victims are supported and exited out and perpetrators are targeted and brought to justice.”
For more information about trafficking and modern slavery, visit the dedicated webpage http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice/Personal-Safety/Trafficking/Human-Trafficking.aspx