Two people have been arrested in Swaffham after a week of action targeting those involved in trafficking and exploitation in Norfolk.
Officers across the county took part in the UK-wide operation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency’s UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC).
Codenamed Operation Hornsman, the week of action, from Monday 30 May 2016, was aimed at targeting the criminal networks and individuals behind trafficking and exploitation, as well as protecting and safeguarding potential victims.
Officers carried out a number of visits to businesses across Norfolk to identify potential victims of trafficking and forced labour whilst two people were arrested after a warrant was issued at a business premises in Swaffham on Friday 3 June 2016.
Working with partner agencies, including HMRC, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, the Health and Safety Executive, The Red Cross and local authorities, officers arrested two men.
A 39-year-old from the Peterborough area and a 38-year-old from the Lincolnshire area were arrested on suspicion of Modern Slavery offences and were both later released on police bail pending further enquiries until Wednesday 20 July 2016.
As part of the week’s activities, the Human Trafficking Co-ordinator for Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, Mark English, also carried out educational visits to key organisations including the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and the Western Area Safeguarding Board in Kings Lynn.
Mark said: “It is vital that Norfolk Constabulary works together with our partners and outside organisations to identify and support victims of Modern Slavery and I will continue to meet with groups and organisations over the coming months to raise awareness about Human Trafficking and forced labour.
“We all have a role to play in helping these individuals who are being exploited by organised criminals and it is important people understand what Modern Slavery is, how to recognise the signs and then how to report it.
“The week of action serves as a warning that Norfolk Constabulary is committed to targeting those criminal networks involved in forced labour and trafficking and we will prosecute those found exploiting vulnerable people.
“Very often the victims live in fear and are too frightened or unwilling to come forward but this has to stop. Victims need to know they have the support of Norfolk Constabulary and our partner agencies, and by working together we can help free them of this atrocious crime.”
If you suspect that modern slavery is taking place please contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101.
If you have information but would like to remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.