Seven arrests made by detectives in series of modern slavery and drugs raids

Date published: 13 July 2022 21:46
Dated: 13 July 2022 22:45:37

Detectives have today (Wednesday 13 July) arrested seven people - two men and three women on suspicion of offences concerning modern slavery and human trafficking, and two other men on suspicion of possession of controlled drugs with intention to supply.

Eight warrants were executed across Sheffield as part of the South Yorkshire Police-led investigation.

Two warrants were also executed in Derby and Liverpool, again led by South Yorkshire Police officers and in conjunction with the respective forces. Two North Yorkshire properties in Scarborough and York were also visited by North Yorkshire Police.

At the time of writing all suspects remain in police custody as enquiries continue.

A man, aged 42, was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery - namely human trafficking of females for the purposes of sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution and money laundering.

Another man - aged 66 - was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery - namely human trafficking of females for the purposes of sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution.

A 43-year old woman was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery - namely human trafficking of females for the purposes of sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution.

Another woman, 47, was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery - namely human trafficking of females for the purposes of sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution.

A third woman, 41, was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery - namely human trafficking of females for the purposes of sexual exploitation, controlling prostitution.

A third man, aged 32, was arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled drugs suspected to be Class A and Class B with intention to supply.

A fourth man aged 35 was arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled drugs suspected to be Class A and Class B with intention to supply.

All of those arrested were from Sheffield, except for the 43-year-old woman, who is from Derby.

Detective Inspector James Smith said: “During today’s policing activity, a total of three women between the ages of 39 and 48 have been identified as being potential victims of modern slavery. They have been supported by police and offered the support of specialist partners and charities here in South Yorkshire.

"We suspect that a number of women identified during our investigation were brought in to the country for the sole purpose of exploitation, and it's now our absolute priority to ensure they are removed from harm, safeguarded, and receive the specialist long-term support they need."

Today’s operation centred around the suspected exploitation of women for a sexual purpose. However, there are numerous different types of modern slavery; vulnerable people can be exploited sexually, criminally, through forced labour or in domestic servitude.

Speaking more about how we tackle modern slavery, Detective Chief Inspector Anna Sedgwick said: "Tackling modern slavery is a priority for South Yorkshire Police and we will use all of the means at our disposal to identify and apprehend those who seek to enslave others. 

“We will always work to pursue and disrupt the operations of individuals we suspect to be involved in this incredibly serious and harmful crime type. Such operations, like the one conducted today, require the help of extensive resources, including other police forces, other law enforcement agencies and charities. I would like to personally thank the investigation team and our police colleagues and partners who have assisted the activities carried out today and their support provided to this investigation.

“I would also urge people to display social and ethical awareness about what is happening in their communities, and be vigilant around modern slavery. You are our eyes and ears and best placed to spot those who may be trapped in a situation where they are being exploited.”

If you have any information surrounding today's operation, or have concerns about people being exploited in any way, please report this to police either online, through live chat or by calling 101. Reports can also be made to the Modern Slavery Helpline by calling 08000 121 700. The incident number connected to today's activity is 316 of 13 July 2022.

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