Barnet Borehamwood Breaking Hertfordshire LONDON Wandsworth

Met officers have executed eight search warrants following a proactive operation focused on crimes related to human trafficking and criminal exploitation by a well-established Organised Criminal Network (OCN).

A total of 11 alleged members of the OCN have been arrested for modern slavery and drugs offences following a pre-planned operation by officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

The warrants were executed this morning, Wednesday, 31 March, in Barnet, Wandsworth and Borehamwood in Hertfordshire. They were carried out with assistance from officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG).

Those arrested are aged between 26 and 34-years-old. They have been arrested for a variety of offences, including modern slavery, human trafficking, production of Class B drugs, possession of Class A drugs and money laundering.

Three addresses visited were converted for the production of cannabis.

The three male victims found at the addresses are now receiving support from specialist officers.

Searches at the addresses are ongoing. Enquiries continue.

Acting Detective Inspector Aaron Saunders from Central Specialist Crime, said:

“Today we have significantly disrupted this organised criminal network. Members of this OCN are responsible for the trafficking of vulnerable adults into the UK where they are instructed to commit criminal activities through fear of violence.

“These victims have been found living in squalid conditions, sleeping on dirty mattresses and owning just the clothes they are wearing.

“We believe there are victims of modern slavery in all boroughs across London and the public may encounter them every day, possibly without realising.”

As well as being criminally exploited, victims have been found working in, prostitution, construction, domestic servitude, agriculture, and in places you use yourself, such as car washes, barbers and nail bars.

Victims are often told the police and authorities in the UK are not to be trusted and with limited English are unable to seek help, even if they want to.

If you suspect that you, or someone you have come into contact with, may be a victim of modern slavery or trafficking and require support, please call The Salvation Army’s 24 hour confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733. This is the best way to get support to anyone you suspect might be a victim

You can also report a suspicion or seek advice through the Modern Slavery Helpline confidentially on 08000 121 700. This is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.