Two people have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and a number of suspected trafficking victims rescued following police raids in Blackpool and Cleveleys.
Officers from Lancashire police’s Serious Crime Team, assisted by the National Crime Agency, raided a flat on Blackpool Promenade and businesses on Church Street in Blackpool and Victoria Road West in Cleveleys this morning as part of an ongoing human trafficking investigation.
A 36-year-old man and a 33-year-old a woman were arrested from the flat on suspicion of modern slavery, assisting unlawful immigration and money laundering. They are currently in custody.
Seven suspected trafficking victims were found at the Promenade and Cleveleys addresses and are now being protected.
Inspector John Roy, of the Serious Crime Team, said: “Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling exploitation of all kinds and we continue to work proactively to put an end to modern slavery.
“While we have arrested two people today our enquiries are very much on-going and I am grateful to the National Crime Agency and others for the support they have offered us today.
“We welcome any community intelligence that may help to identify addresses where modern slavery may be taking place. If you suspect suspicious activity is taking place, please let us know. We take all reports seriously and will investigate thoroughly.”
A Lancashire police spokesman said: "Human trafficking is a real issue and sometimes the people involved in this kind of work are being controlled against their own will. The perpetrators who commit this type of crime prey on the vulnerable and exploit them. They take away their freedom, leaving them with no control over their own lives
"Lancashire Constabulary is committed to investigating offences of human trafficking committed against victims of any nationality.
"There are a number of ways you can contact someone for help. You don’t have to speak directly to the police there are charities that can help you. You can also ring some services anonymously; you do not have to give your name or go to court or give a statement."
People can call the modern slavery helpline for advice and support on 08000 121 700.