More than 20 people arrested in sex trafficking investigation

A total of 24 people have been arrested in a cross-border sex trafficking investigation.

Some 10 people have been held across the UK over suspected serious and organised crime, while 14 were arrested in Romania as part of the Police Scotland-led operation.

Several potential trafficking victims were also recovered from a number of addresses in both countries.

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Detective Inspector Adrian Wallis, who led the operation, said: “Today’s enforcement action was the result of a lengthy investigation, with Police Scotland working alongside our counterparts in Romania.

“The arrests made today are the result of working closely with our partners in the NCA and officers in Romania over the last 12 months to identify those involved in this exploitation.

“The investigation isn’t over yet, however, today’s action should send a very clear message – trafficking won’t be tolerated in Scotland and we will continue to work with partners, nationally and internationally, to identify those involved in slavery and exploitation and to bring them to justice.”

Various locations were targeted in the early hours of Wednesday involving simultaneous deployments across Scotland, England and Romania.

Police attended four premises in Glasgow and Aberdeen, five in England – in Leicester, Coventry and Northampton – and 23 addresses across Romania.

Romanian ambassador Dan Mihalache said: “It is a great pleasure to record today another major success in the field of police work in times when crime sees no borders and its sophistication increases day by day.

“Another long investigation reached fruition as a result of the combined efforts of Police Scotland and Romanian police, and serious charges have been brought against the members of a criminal network operating in Scotland and Romania.

“May I congratulate the men and women of the two services for their hard work and dedication, say how much we appreciate the results and reassure our partners of our continuous co-operation.

“We look forward to seeing new barriers against justice being brought down, more victims receiving the reparations they deserve and more culprits taken off our cities’ streets.”