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17 October 2013, 06:00
Hertfordshire Police launch Operation Eagle to see how bad human trafficking is in the county and help victims.
It will highlight the role of police officers and staff working alongside key partners such as local councils and health providers to identify and help people who may be victims of trafficking.
What is human trafficking? It involves the exploitation of a human being by another for gain, whether it’s for sex, servitude, illegal adoption or even organ donation.
Police hope intelligence gathering through Operation Eagle will give an indication of the level of human trafficking in the UK.
Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd said: "There is nothing more despicable than those criminals who target, abuse and exploit vulnerable people.
I want to ensure that Hertfordshire Constabulary plays it part in tackling criminality that crosses force boundaries. Criminality does not respect borders and Hertfordshire will contribute to ensuring that the whole of the country is kept safe from organised criminals."
Detective Inspector Steve Keating of Hertfordshire’s Economic Crime Unit told Heart: "Human trafficking is a vile crime that results in humans being exploited for the benefit of others.
People who play a part in this evil trade are criminals, purely and simply,and we want to send out a message that we won’t tolerate it.
It’s hard for us to know the true extent of human trafficking in the UK. But we know one thing for sure —it is very real. It’s happening on our streets, in our communities, on our doorstep.
We want everyone to understand they can play a role in dealing with this despicable crime, which is fast becoming one of the most profitable ways organised crime groups can make money.
We also want people to be aware that trafficked victims may be working in places you might not normally consider, like car washes, high street nail bars and massage parlours.
They may also be forced to work as cleaners, nannies, au pairs, or for domestic labour.
Operation Eagle is being launched not only to raise awareness of human trafficking, but also to give officers the confidence to recognise, record and respond to such incidents, and know where to go for more information.
We would ask the public to be on the alert and to report any kind of suspicious activity to police by calling the non- emergency number 101 or by ringing Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, if a crime is in progress, always ring 999."