21 April 2015
The National Crime Agency has today (Tuesday 21 April) arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of human trafficking, for the purposes of exploiting persons into forced labour.
The arrest, which took place in Birstall, Leicestershire, was part of an NCA coordinated day of action, following the receipt of intelligence passed to the UK by Slovakian authorities regarding a labour exploitation network.
It is alleged that a significant number of Slovakian nationals have been trafficked to the UK and exploited, working for very little money and being controlled by individuals in the UK.
The day of action, which has included officers from the NCA, local police forces, the Gangmasters Licencing Agency, Regional Organised Crime Units and other UK partners, as well as our international partners, Europol and the Slovakian police, has so far resulted in the arrest of 24 suspects. In addition, more than 50 people who are believed to be victims of human trafficking have been safeguarded.
Investigations are ongoing, so we expect the number of those arrested and possible victims identified, to increase.
Caroline Young, Deputy Director of the National Crime Agency’s Organised Crime Command said:
“Today’s coordinated activity highlights the close collaboration between the National Crime Agency, local police forces, the Gangmasters Licencing Agency, Regional Organised Crime Unit and other UK partners, as well as our international partners, Europol and the Slovakian police, to investigate labour exploitation and human trafficking within the UK.
“These close working relationships help us to tackle the organised crime groups who think they can exploit people for profit. We will continue to work together, sharing intelligence and knowledge to hold offenders to account and safeguard victims”.
Anyone with any information in relation to human trafficking offences can contact their local police on 101. People can also pass information on anonymously by contacting the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. The Salvation Army human trafficking helpline can also be contacted in order to report instances of human trafficking on 0300 303 8151.
Breakdown of regions and arrests:
Northumbria Police and the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) – 4 arrests
Leicestershire Police – 6 arrests
Cambridgeshire Police and East Regional Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) – 13 arrests
National Crime Agency - 1 arrest (in the Leicestershire area)