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Human traffickers arrested in raids across the capital

A total of 14 men and women have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and modern slavery offences following early morning warrants carried out in south London.

Officers targeted five nail bars in Southwark at the following addresses:

– Peckham High Street, SE15;
– Walworth Road, SE17;
– Camberwell Road, SE5;
– Rye Lane, SE15;
– Walworth Road SE17.

A multi-agency investigation was launched after concerns about vulnerable individuals being employed in the venues were raised to Southwark Local Authority and the MPS in July 2019.

The investigation, led by officers from Central Specialist Crime, was developed over the space of five months, culminating in these search warrants.

A total of 13 people were arrested for modern slavery and human trafficking offences, one individual was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. They have all been taken to south London police stations where they remain in custody. Further details of those arrested awaits.

The operation involved more than 150 individuals, including 100 officers from across the MPS, immigration services, Southwark Council, social services, the NHS, and a range of charities dedicated to supporting the victims of such circumstances.

A total of 24 people – 19 adults and five children – found inside the addresses were supported by specially trained officers and escorted to a nearby reception centre where they received medical treatment and support.

A range of items and a vehicle have been seized as part of the operation.