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Recognition for the TOEX Team

The East Midlands TOEX team is celebrating another success in the form of a Lincolnshire Chief Constable’s Commendation.

Detective Inspector Dan Smith and Senior Analyst Zoyla Fell attended an event last month to receive the award on behalf of the team for their work on Operation Mosaic – the investigation into a human trafficking network within the county.

In May 2021, an investigation was launched after four Bulgarian victims reported a number of men had bought them over to the UK on the promise of employment which never fabricated.

The victims were charged £500 each to obtain their ID documents, on top of the £300 paid to enter the UK. They were told to sleep on the floor, were given little to no food and had no money.

One of the victims had also been unlawfully tattooed with the name of one of her traffickers, to show ownership.

A fifth victim reported a series of rapes. TOEX were able to uncover adverts on adult sex websites for this victim, which strengthened the case against her traffickers that they had exploited her for sex work.

The team also helped locate an unidentified suspect, who was also wanted on a European Arrest Warrant for crimes in Romania, where he was later extradited back to. On conclusion of the investigation, all victims were safeguarded and moved back to Bulgaria, and the TOEX team received high praise for their work.

DI Dan Smith said: “This was actually the first operation we were tasked to work on back in 2021. Since then, I can honestly say that our capabilities have come on in leaps and bounds, and the confidence of the team has grown too.

“We are always extremely proud and grateful to receive awards like this, and I’d like to thank the whole team for the work they do every day to identify and safeguard vulnerable victims of the most serious crimes in our region.”

EMSOU Award 2