London

Seventeen arrested in human trafficking raids in London

Met Police raid
Image caption A total of 29 women aged 20 to 40 believed to be victims of trafficking were rescued in the operation by the Met

Seventeen people have been arrested in early morning raids across east London in an international human trafficking investigation.

A total of 29 women aged 20 to 40 were rescued in the operation by the Met, supported by officers from Romania.

The potential victims were taken to a "place of safety", and the suspects, 14 men and three women, remain in custody.

Sixteen warrants were executed at properties in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Tower Hamlets.

The suspects, who were aged between 17 and 50, were held on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, Class A drug offences and firearm offences relating to a stun gun.

They remain in custody in a central London police station.

Four warrants were carried out in Romania at the same time, leading to the arrest of a man in Constanta.

'One fell swoop'

Det Ch Insp Richard McDonagh, said: "The Met recognises the seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings to people's lives.

"Today's synchronised operational activity [had] the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims."

A spokesman for Romanian police in the UK said: "Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites