More than 50 men and a child have been rescued from alleged people traffickers smuggling victims to North London.
Metropolitan Police officers and the Romanian police arrested a total of 13 men suspected of trafficking Romanians to work as builders in the UK in early morning raids on Tuesday, September 28.
The Met said they found 54 men and a boy sleeping in “extremely cramped conditions”. They have now been taken into care.
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The alleged victims were found housed sharing rooms in addresses with mattresses covering the floor.
Police said Romanian adult nationals had been trafficked to Kingsbury, North London to work on building sites as cheap, unskilled labourers.
(Image: Metropolitan Police)
Those arrested are between 22 and 49 years old.
Four warrants were executed in Harrow and Brent, and cash and a firearm were also seized.
Eight men were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and taken to a North London police station.
Five men were arrested in Romania, where gold and an estimated 250,000 euros were seized.
They have been arrested on suspicion of various offences, including causing another to complete forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking contrary to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Detective Constable Dec Wilson, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Directorate, said: “These arrests in the UK and abroad are the result of working closely with our partners in Romania for the past 18 months, to identify those involved in the human trafficking and labour exploitation.
“We need the public’s help as they have an important role to play in recognising and reporting modern slavery.
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“If you suspect someone may be a victim of modern slavery, report it. You will always be taken seriously, and protection and support is available.
“Often those affected do not see themselves as potential victims of labour exploitation and many will have been coerced into this life to make money for an organised crime network.
“We believe there are victims of modern slavery in every borough across London and the public may encounter them every day, possibly without realising.
“As well as being exploited for labour, victims have been found working in construction, domestic servitude, agriculture, cannabis factories and in places you use yourself, such as car washes, barbers and nail bars.
“Victims are often told the police and authorities in the UK are not to be trusted and with limited English the victims are unable to seek help, even if they want to.’