Police raid eight addresses in crackdown on sex slavery in Northamptonshire
"We know men, women and children are suffering at the hands of criminals .. we are here to listen and take action"
Police raided eight Northamptonshire addresses as part of the Operation Aidant crackdown into sexual exploitation and modern slavery.
All eight locations were identified through concerns raised by the public and the visits were intended to disrupt pop-up brothels, identify and safeguard vulnerable people subjected to exploitation and bring offenders to justice.
A similar raid in Wellingborough last year netted three arrests and freed eight people, including five teenagers.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee McBride said: "We know there are men, women and children in this county who are suffering at the hands of criminals.
“We are here to listen and take action.To anybody who is or knows a victim of modern slavery: We will listen and we will react quickly.
"We will believe anybody who reports offences to us. We will support you and we will arrest offenders and bring them to justice.
"This is a terrible crime where victims are viewed as a commodity to be traded or exploited over and over again.
A surge in operational activity focusing on labour and sexual exploitation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency has been codenamed Operation Aidant.
And Northamptonshire is spreading the word by issuing a video encouraging victims report offences which has been translated into Bulgarian, Chinese Mandarin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian and Vietnamese.
DCI McBride, the force lead for modern slavery and human trafficking, added: “Everybody should be allowed to work in a safe, non-exploitative environment and the purpose of the week of action is to ensure no exploitation or trafficking is taking place at a series of addresses across the county.
"This may be for use in criminal purposes and as well as sexual exploitation it can include forced labour, domestic servitude or for sexual exploitation.”
“The nature of modern slavery means victims are hidden and controlled so it can be hard to spot or recognise, particularly for victims of sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude.sending a message to victims in multiple languages."
Modern slavery is exploitative behaviour that places one person in control of another. It can affect people of any age, gender or race.
Cases have been found all across the country, at pop-up brothels, car washes, construction sites, in agricultural industries and in food processing. Victims are paid little and forced to put up with poor living and working conditions.
Many have their freedom of movement removed. It usually affects people and communities who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of.
The main signs include somebody being made to work long hours, being chaperoned, having very few personal possessions, having malnutrition and being subjected to abuse.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “We know that modern slavery is happening in our county but it is really hard to reach the victims, who live in a world of fear and coercion.
"I am pleased to support Operation Aidant with extra funding and help Northamptonshire Police to give victims of this type of crime a voice and a way out of their situation.”