24 October 2016
More than 550 suspected sex trafficking victims have been helped to safety across Europe in an NCA co-ordinated operation.
Operation Perceptional – the UK arm of Europol’s Operation Ciconia Alba - saw law enforcement agencies crackdown on organised criminal activity that enslaves victims into the sex trade.
Joint action days - supported by safeguarding services, business leaders and charities – involved law enforcement agencies tackling the priority threat of modern slavery by targeting thousands of trafficking hotspots such as red light districts, brothels, suspect premises, hotels and transit points.
Flights into the UK from known trafficking countries were checked and hundreds of overseas workers warned of the dangers of modern slavery crime and given safety advice.
At least two suspects were denied entry to the UK and the personal details of many potential suspects were obtained and shared with partners.
More than 43,000 people were stopped across the continent during the operation for reasons ranging from arrest, to advice given and safeguarding interventions made.
More than 70 arrests were made and over 100 new investigations launched by European police agencies.
The 11-day UK operation began on October 10th and spanned either side of UK Anti-Slavery Day on October 18th. Martin French, NCA lead on modern slavery and human trafficking, said: “Operational Perceptional saw UK law enforcement working alongside Europol partners to tackle the threat posed by criminals who deliberately traffic men, women and children into conditions of sexual exploitation.
“This operation builds on the successes of previous action days which have targeted labour exploitation and the trafficking of victims from Nigeria to Europe for sexual exploitation.
“Tackling modern slavery is a priority for UK law enforcement. Working with national and international partners we will use all the tools available to us to rescue victims and tackle those responsible.”