UK & World News

  • 9 December 2013, 0:31

'Slaves' Rescued In Bristol Police Raids

Three men, believed to be victims of slavery, have been "rescued" by police following a series of raids in the Bristol area.

Police officers raided three travellers' sites, a business unit, a house in South Gloucestershire and a house in Bristol.

Two people have been arrested on slavery offences and five others on suspicion of offences including money laundering and handling stolen goods.

A significant quantity of cash was found at one of the addresses.

Three male victims, one aged in his 30s, one in his 40s and one in his 50s, have been taken to a place of safety and are being offered support.

Avon and Somerset Police launched an investigation into forced labour and human trafficking five weeks ago following intelligence built up by CID.

Head of CID, Chief Superintendent Julian Moss, said: "This is an ongoing and dynamic inquiry; our primary aim is to safeguard and protect vulnerable victims.

"We know from talking with other police forces and charities such as Unseen that victims in such cases are often forced to live and work in poor and unsanitary conditions, sometimes with little or no pay.

"Some of those affected will not view themselves as victims and, even if they do, may have been unable to speak to the police or any other authorities for a variety of reasons."

South Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, the National Crime Agency and specialist charities, such as anti-trafficking organisation Unseen and the Red Cross have all been involved in the operation.