Arrests have been made in Tower Hamlets during early morning raids across East London in connection to an international human trafficking operation.
A total of 17 people were arrested and are being detained on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, firearm offences and Class A drug offences. The suspects are aged between 17-50 years old.
As part of a joint operation with Romanian police called ‘Operation Kelang’, the raids were executed at 16 addresses in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Brentwood and Tower Hamlets as well as four addresses in Romania.
A total of 29 victims, all women between the ages of 20-40, have been rescued from London addresses and are now safe.
LBC’s correspondent Rachael Venables, who accompanied specialist detectives on the raids, reported from the scene that DCI Richard McDonagh, leader of the Vulnerability Investigations Team said : “We’ve just forced entry to a premises here where we’re looking to arrest individuals involved in the exploitation of women…It’s an address where we believe there’s been exploitation occurring, so actual sex workers active at this location.”
In a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, McDonagh said:
“Today’s synchronized operational activity spanned 16 addresses in east London and four addresses in Romania with the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims.”