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Police rescue 12 suspected slaves after dawn raids as part of crackdown on alleged human trafficking network with links to Slovakia and Czech Republic

  • Four raids carried out in Kent this morning, with seven more remaining today 
  • Officers arrested a 47-year-old man and 25-year-old at a property in Dover 
  • Suspected victims have been moved to place of safety, according to police 

As many as 12 human trafficking and slavery victims could have been rescued in dawn raids carried out this morning. 

Police rescued the potential victims in Folkestone, Dover and Lydd as part of an investigation that will see seven more locations raided today.

The four raids already carried out were connected to a suspected organised crime networked linked to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate say.

Kent Police carried out four raids this morning and seven more throughout the day to tackle modern slavery

Kent Police carried out four raids this morning and seven more throughout the day to tackle modern slavery

Officers arrested a 47-year-old man and a 25-year-old man at one property in Dover on suspicion of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, contrary to the 2015 Modern Slavery Act. 

Kent Police says both men remain in custody while enquiries continue and the suspected victims have been taken to a place of safety.

Detective Inspector James Derham of Kent Police said: 'Human trafficking and modern slavery are two of the fastest-growing international crimes and a large source of income for the people responsible, who care little for the misery they inflict on victims who are often lured to the UK on the promise of a better life.

'Instead they are forced to carry out backbreaking or degrading work for little or no pay while living in substandard conditions and being mistreated and abused on a daily basis.

Officers arrested a 47-year-old man and a 25-year-old man at one property in Dover on suspicion of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation

Officers arrested a 47-year-old man and a 25-year-old man at one property in Dover on suspicion of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation

'Tackling human trafficking and modern slavery is a priority for Kent Police and we will be relentless in our pursuit of those whom we believe are responsible for the exploitation of others. 

'Such offences have no place in a civilised society and we are keen to do everything we can to prevent them from happening and protect those who are most at risk.'

The 4am raids were carried out with assistance from the Salvation Army, whose director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery, Anne Read, said: 'Following the police operation all victims have been offered safe delivery into protective care and specialist support through a Government contract operated by The Salvation Army.

'This provides vital help and support to adult victims of this pitiless exploitation, which gives them the very best chance to recover through comprehensive specialised services, which can range from intensive 24/7 support in the first stages of recovery or for people with high-level needs to counselling and help with accommodation, repatriation, finances and finding employment.'

 

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