A child has been taken into care following an investigation into human trafficking, modern slavery and child exploitation in Northampton.
Two men, aged 45 and 47, and two women, aged 41 and 44, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking.
A 17-year-old child was safeguarded, with one of the men having been arrested on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity with a child and attempted rape, in addition to the offences above.
The arrests took place on a 'day of action' as part of a pre-planned operation by Northamptonshire Police.
Detective Sergeant Johnny Campbell, who led the investigation, said: "Northamptonshire Police are committed to keeping people safe and tackling this despicable crime.
“Research suggests there are up to 13,000 victims of slavery across the UK, so there will be victims in Northamptonshire and we are committed to locating them, safeguarding them and bringing offenders to justice.
“We need people across the county to be aware of the signs to look out for which may indicate somebody is a victim of human trafficking or modern slavery.
“This could be multiple occupancies at a property with people being collected early in the morning and brought home late at night.
“It could be that you notice workers are not dressed appropriately for outdoor work including gardening, washing cars or in agriculture.
“It could be that somebody is working as what is sometimes called a ‘modern-day Cinderella’ in domestic servitude or being made to work in the sex trade in ‘pop-up brothels’ against their will.
“Often victims don’t have any ID documents or cash and they are effectively trapped. Any vulnerable person can be a victim of human trafficking, it could be somebody who doesn’t speak English but that’s not necessarily the case – it can happen to anybody who has some form of vulnerability.”
For help and advice visit www.modernslavery.co.uk or call the helpline number 0800 0121 700
To report call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555.
In an emergency always call 999.