24 arrested and seven rescued in operation against slavery and trafficking


Twenty-four arrests have been made and seven vulnerable people rescued this week as part of a multi-agency operation in Greater Manchester against modern slavery and human trafficking

Police, councils and agencies such as immigration, environmental health, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions have worked together to combat the problem.

Up until 7pm on Wednesday, the Challenger Modern Slavery Unit had visited 54 houses, 29 car washes, 15 brothels, three nail bars and two restaurants across Greater Manchester.

Arrests were made for offences including trafficking, sexual exploitation and immigration, and six victims located and safeguarded by multi-agency staff at a reception centre in the region.

The victim reception centre was set up especially for the week of action and is supported by the British Red Cross.

Work to rehabilitate and care for victims in the early, extremely vulnerable initial stages is under way, said Greater Manchester Police, with victims suffering from the effects of intensive physical and psychological abuse.

GMP Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: "So far, the week of action has been a great success in locating vulnerable people and taking them away from the horror they have suffered at the hands of their exploiters and abusers. It is also a stark and tragic reminder that slavery is very much a 21st century crime, happening now here in our towns and cities.  

"Victims are often promised a good job, financial security or a better life. In reality, they are forced to work in cramped, dangerous conditions for hours on end, with limited contact with their family and under complete control of their abusers.  

"This week is not simply a one-off response and is very much business as usual for the force and our partners. We will continue to work hard to find victims of modern slavery and target the individuals and businesses who take advantage of such labour. In order to do this most effectively, we need the public's help.  

"Would you know the signs of slavery and trafficking? Would you use the services of a business that exploited its workers? Would you report it? These are the questions we are asking of the local communities. If you suspect anything - tell us."