Suspected modern slavery victims rescued from Huddersfield house in police raids
Women thought to have been trafficked as modern slaves have been rescued from a house in Huddersfield, police have said.
Raids were carried out at 6am yesterday (Wednesday) on the property as part of a wider international human trafficking investigation.
Two women were rescued, while officers arrested a man and woman in connection with the suspected offences.
West Yorkshire Police said similar raids were also carried out at properties in Austria and Romania which were joint-led by the force's Programme Precision Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team.
The investigation is also being supported by the National Crime AGency (NCA), which deals with serious, organised crime including the trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans as part of modern slavery crimes, as well as the United Kingdom Central Authority (UKCA) and the charity, Hope for Justice.
The two women rescued in the dawn raids are currently being supported by Hope for Justice who described modern slavery as a "despicable crime".
A 38-year-old man and 42-year-old woman who were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act have been bailed.
Detective Superintendent Carl Galvin said: “Modern Slavery (also known as human trafficking) is a horrible crime that trades in human misery.
“There is no place for it in 21st century Britain or anywhere else. We are determined to bring those responsible for it to justice and to safeguard and support victims.
“Through Programme Precision we are working together with local, national and international partners to bring those responsible for serious and organised crime to justice.
“Programme Precision also seeks to work with the public to tackle serious and organised crime – and modern slavery is often a crime that ‘hides in plain sight’ – it could be happening on your street so if you suspect any suspicious behaviour or have information about potential slavery offences call police on 101 – your call could make all the difference."
The public are being urged to report any suspicions about modern slavery in their communities.
Any suspicions can be raised with local police, Crimestoppers or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.
Steve Howard, Hubs Team Manager at Hope for Justice, said: “Modern slavery, in all its forms, is a despicable crime. We are privileged to have been involved in this operation, and ultimately, in the rescue of these two women. Our multi-skilled team has been able to assist with translation, as well as providing independent support and advice for the victims. We will be working to ensure their ongoing care and safety in the days, weeks and months ahead.
“We are glad to be working alongside the police and with other partners to respond to referrals of potential trafficking victims such as these women. We are as committed as ever to ending slavery for good.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Burns-Williamson, who is the national PCC lead for slavery and human trafficking, said: “It’s reassuring to see further proactive law enforcement work being undertaken in West Yorkshire to tackle the scourge of human trafficking and modern day slavery by West Yorkshire Police and our partner agencies such as the National Crime Agency (NCA).
This ongoing work is vital to help safeguard very vulnerable victims of crime who have been exploited and treated callously by criminals and I pay tribute to dedication of our police teams and partners who undertake these painstaking investigations often with international links."