Salvation Army works with Met Police to support victims rescued in slavery raids

published on 24 Apr 2020

Women holding each other

The Salvation Army was on hand this week to work in partnership with the Modern Day Slavery Investigation Team within the Metropolitan Police in a series of raids tackling the sexual exploitation of women in brothels.

Detectives made six arrests in the London Borough of Westminster and rescued women who were offered protective care and specialist support through a Government contract operated by The Salvation Army. During the current coronavirus pandemic The Salvation Army is continuing to help survivors of slavery begin to live independently but also supporting them to cope with the lockdown restrictions, which again deny their freedom and protect them from infection. Victims rescued from police raids such as those which took place this week are offered a safe place to stay and the support they need which can include counselling, finances, medical and legal assistance and help finding employment or returning to their home country. 

There are many more people still trapped and living in slave-like conditions in communities up and down the UK, and it is more important than ever that the public continues to be vigilant. The Salvation Army advises that if someone suspects that they or someone they have come into contact with, may be a victim of modern slavery and in need of help, they should call The Salvation Army’s free, confidential referral helpline on 0800 808 3733, available 24/7.

Director of Anti-trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, Major Kathy Betteridge, said:

"We are really grateful to the police for continuing to prioritise the protection of people being abused through slavery despite all the extra demands currently placed on them as part of their response to the pandemic. This means that we can reach the vulnerable people who urgently need our help. 

Even in these challenging times with coronavirus, The Salvation Army and our partners are doing all we can so that victims have the best care possible, to keep them safe and help them continue their recovery.”

The arrests were part of an investigation, called Operation Huai, into an organised crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women, most of whom are Chinese, with a smaller number of Romanian and UK nationals.

 Officers carried out early morning warrants at seven London addresses - including four brothels - as well as one residential address in Gloucestershire. Four women and two men have been arrested while paintings, watches and luxury cars are among the high value items to have been seized.

 Detective Superintendent Tara McGovern, of the Modern Slavery Investigation Team, said: “The Met will continue to work with partners, including The Salvation Army, to combat human trafficking and modern slavery in order to safeguard those who are most vulnerable. Even during these unprecedented times, we will continue to target organised crime groups who seek to profit from these audacious acts and bring them to justice.”


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