9 men in ma­jor sex traf­fick­ing raids

The Manica Post - - Foreign/Sport -

LON­DON — Po­lice ar­rested nine men in north­ern Eng­land suspected of traf­fick­ing and rap­ing young women fol­low­ing raids on Tues­day on sev­eral homes in a crack­down in­volv­ing more than 150 of­fi­cers.

The ar­rests were made in the town of Stock­ton and city of Sh­effield as part of a ma­jor on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sex abuse, ex­ploita­tion and traf­fick­ing of women across Bri­tain, ac­cord­ing to Cleve­land po­lice force, based in north­east Eng­land.

The raids were car­ried out af­ter of­fi­cers re­ceived in­tel­li­gence that at least 10 women were traf­ficked both within the re­gion and across the coun­try, and raped by mul­ti­ple men in var­i­ous ad­dresses over a pe­riod of sev­eral months, po­lice said.

The num­ber of of­fi­cers in­volved - more than 150 — was “ex­cep­tion­ally high” for an anti-traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion, Will Green, a po­lice spokesman, told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion.

Po­lice forces across the coun­try are ramp­ing up ef­forts to in­ves­ti­gate cases of traf­fick­ing and mod­ern slav­ery, with more than 500 live polic­ing op­er­a­tions into the crimes on­go­ing, say the Na­tional Crime Agency (NCA) — dubbed Bri­tain’s FBI.

“Our mes­sage is clear, to those who are vic­tims of this vile abuse; there is hope,” said Ja­son Har­win, Cleve­land po­lice as­sis­tant chief con­sta­ble.

“We are on your side; we can and will help you.”

At least 13 000 peo­ple across Bri­tain are es­ti­mated by the gov­ern­ment to be vic­tims of mod­ern slav­ery — but po­lice say the real fig­ure is far more likely to be in the tens of thou­sands.

“Hu­man traf­fick­ing, the ex­ploita­tion of the most vul­ner­a­ble in our com­mu­ni­ties by the most ruth­less, will not be ac­cepted,” Har­win said in a state­ment fol­low­ing the ar­rests.

Po­lice recorded 2 255 mod­ern slav­ery crimes in the past fi­nan­cial year - up from 870 cases dur­ing the same pe­riod for 2015/16 — ac­cord­ing to Bri­tain’s anti-slav­ery tsar Kevin Hy­land.

In Septem­ber, nine mem­bers of a Bri­tish fam­ily who en­slaved vul­ner­a­ble adults while en­joy­ing a lav­ish life­style were sen­tenced to a to­tal of al­most 80 years in prison fol­low­ing one of the largest in­ves­ti­ga­tions of its kind in the coun­try. De­spite the up­surge in cases, po­lice in Bri­tain are fail­ing slaves, with a lack of un­der­stand­ing, medi­ocre in­ves­ti­ga­tions and trou­bling at­ti­tudes from of­fi­cers leav­ing many vic­tims prey to fur­ther ex­ploita­tion, a po­lice watch­dog said in Oc­to­ber.

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