Seven arrested in Ipswich slavery investigation

28 February 2019, 09:07 | Updated: 28 February 2019, 09:08

woman silhouette abuse slavery

Seven people have been arrested in Ipswich in connection with modern slavery offences.

The arrests were made on Tuesday 12 February following a pre-planned operation.

Working with partners in the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), National Crime Agency (NCA), Romanian Police, The British Red Cross, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, a number of warrants and searches were conducted by Suffolk Police in central Ipswich and Kesgrave.

Officers made seven arrests - five men aged 49, 47, 21 years and two men both aged 23 years along with two women aged 20 and 31 - were arrested on suspicion of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.

They were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning and were later released on police bail until Friday 1 March 2019 pending further enquiries.

A 45-year-old man was also arrested for a European arrest warrant. Europol supported the investigation by providing analytical support, deploying one analyst during the operation phase to deliver cross-checks immediately.

A large quantity of paperwork and a quantity of cash were recovered and seized as part of the operation. A number of potential victims were also located and spoken to by the agencies involved.

Detective Chief Inspector Angus Moir said: "These arrests came about as a result of information we received from a number of sources. 

"Modern slavery is hidden in every community and in many cases the victims are very vulnerable and are specifically targeted by their exploiters. It takes many forms but the most common include criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic servitude. 

"I would like to thank our partners in working closely together to achieve these results."

GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Tony Byrne said: "Working productively with our partners at Suffolk police, we take a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery and labour exploitation. 

"We would encourage people who have reason to believe that someone is being exploited to report their concerns. We can then take swift and decisive action to bring offenders to justice and protect vulnerable workers."