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Police target Westminster brothels in major operation

Police have arrested six people and seized about £1m in assets from brothels in Westminster as part ..

By admin , in London , at April 22, 2020

Police have arrested six people and seized about £1m in assets from brothels in Westminster as part of a major crackdown operation.

The Met’s Modern Day Slavery Investigation team launched a series of raids on Wednesday to tackle the sexual exploitation of women.

Officers carried out early morning warrants at seven London addresses – including four brothels – as well as one residential address in Gloucestershire.

Four women and two men have been arrested while paintings, watches and luxury cars are among the high value items to have been seized.

The force is now safeguarding a number of victims, who are being supported by specialist officers and partner agency the Salvation Army.

The majority are Chinese but there are also Romanian and British victims, the Met Police said.

It comes as part of Scotland Yard’s Operation Huai, which was launched to tackle an organised crime group believed to be sexually exploiting women.

As part of Operation Huai, detectives established a second investigation called Operation Martagon to build evidence against the perpetrators using criminal proceeds to fund luxurious lifestyles.

During the raids in London, officers seized cash and about £1 million worth of assets, including high value watches and paintings.

At the residential address in Gloucestershire, they recovered a number of high value assets including two luxury cars.

A 38-year-old woman, 30-year-old man, a 67-year-old woman and 29-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and proceeds of crime offences.

A 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman have also been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

Four have been taken to a central London police station and two have been taken to a station in Gloucestershire where they all remain in custody.

Detective Inspector Grant Anderson, of the Modern Slavery Investigation Team, said: “I am delighted that the many months of hard work spent putting this investigation together has resulted in the arrests of six people and, more importantly, that weve been able to recover and support vulnerable victims.”

Detective Superintendent Tara McGovern, of the Modern Slavery Investigation Team, said: “We are committed to protecting the vulnerable and bringing those responsible for exploiting others to justice.

“I hope this investigation continues to raise the publics awareness of this shocking crime and sends a clear message to those involved that we will take robust action.

“The Met will continue to work with partners, including The Salvation Army, to combat human trafficking and modern slavery in order to safeguard those who are most vulnerable.

“Even during these unprecedented times, we will continue to target organised crime groups who seek to profit from these audacious acts and bring them to justice.”

Director of Anti-trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, Major Kathy Betteridge, said: “We are really grateful to the police for continuing to prioritise the protection of people being abused through slavery despite all the extra demands currently placed on them as part of their response to the pandemic.

“This means that we can reach the vulnerable people who urgently need our help.

“Following the operation in London this week, all victims have been offered protective care and specialist support through a Government contract operated by The Salvation Army.”