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Police raid suspected brothels in crackdown on human trafficking

PUBLISHED: 14:58 18 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 18 October 2016

Kent Police executes a warrant in Ashford

Kent Police executes a warrant in Ashford

Archant

The two-week effort, dubbed Operation Perceptional, has so far resulted in nine arrests and seven warrants being carried out

A county-wide crackdown on human trafficking and sexual exploitation has seen Kent Police raid a number of suspected brothels.

The two-week effort, dubbed Operation Perceptional, has so far resulted in nine arrests and seven warrants being carried out since it began last Monday.

The dates were chosen to coincide with UK Anti-Slavery day which falls today (Tuesday) and has seen the force work alongside partners and charities to shut down brothels and offer safeguarding services to those who have been exploited.

Detective chief superintendent Rob Fordham spoke about the effort, which is being supported by The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

“Operation Perceptional has been coordinated by the National Crime Agency and although this is very much business as usual for the force, we are keen to play our part and raise awareness,” he said.

“Kent is the gateway to Europe and does provide criminals the opportunity to traffic individuals through the region.

“However, this is a national problem which we are working hard with our partners to target.

“Prostitution is a hidden crime, it is rare that victims come forward and as a consequence of that it is important that people come forward with information if they have concerns about a suspected brothel operating in their neighbourhood.

“It is often the case a house, flat or bungalow is rented for a short period of time and has two or more women residing in it.

“There will be a steady stream of male visitors who stay for a short time and periodically the occupants of the property will change.

“The woman working within the brothels are often brought into the country under the false pretence of working in the beauty or child care industry, they are intimidated and have their passports taken away before being forced into prostitution.

“They are some of the vulnerable people that we come across and I would ask anyone who has information that may help us safeguard the future wellbeing of these individuals, to come forward.”

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