Nov. 14 (UPI) — British police arrested 17 suspected human traffickers early Thursday and rescued more than two dozen women they’d been holding captive as part of a global ring, Scotland Yard investigators said.
The Metropolitan Police Service busted the ring with early morning raids in the London areas of Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Brentwood and Tower Hamlets. They said others were simultaneously arrested in Romania.
Investigators said the 17 accused — 14 men and three women between 17 and 50 years old — were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, drug offenses and firearms charges.
“[We] recognize the seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings to people’s lives,” Met Police Det. Chief Inspector Richard McDonagh, said.
“We have an investigative capability across frontline policing and have invested in specialist resources through our central specialist crime — vulnerability investigations team, which tackles complex cases. This allows us to target offenders and support victims.”
The rescued women, who ranged in age from 20 to 40, were moved to a safe location, McDonagh said.
“Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward,” said Romanian Ambassador to Britain Dan Mihalache.