International Sex Trafficking Operation
An international law enforcement operation, which TOEX has been supporting, targeting suspected criminals involved in trafficking women from Romania into the UK for work in the sex industry has led to several arrests.
It comes after officers from Bedfordshire Police, alongside European policing colleagues and several safeguarding charities undertook warrants at seven addresses in Luton and 11 in Romania in relation to an extensive, intelligence-led investigation into an organised criminal group (OCG).
TOEX has been supporting intelligence development into the group, which is suspected of trafficking women into the area for sex work using the ‘lover boy’ method, which looks to lure young victims from disadvantaged backgrounds by promising them a better life in the UK.
Detective Chief Inspector Katie Dounias, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This operation is the latest stage of a lengthy investigation into a criminal group suspected of preying on vulnerable young women, moving them significant distances from their homes and exploiting them for financial gain.
“Those involved in trafficking gangs pay absolutely no regard to the wellbeing of the women they are exploiting and it’s vital that these networks are dismantled and those involved brought to justice.
“Those being exploited are promised work, accommodation, and other appealing opportunities to leave their homes, only to find the reality is vastly different. They are often subjected to significant mental and physical trauma, which is why the assistance of our colleagues in local charities is vital to building a support network for the vulnerable victims involved.
“I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of everyone involved in the operation and thank the partners and charities who played a key part in helping the victims.”
Read more about the operation on the Bedfordshire Police website.