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Arrests made in human trafficking investigation

Officers in East Lancashire have arrested two people in connection with an investigation into human trafficking.

At around 10am this morning (Wednesday 24 February), police raided an address on Azalea Road in Blackburn.

The action came as part of an on-going police enquiry into human trafficking.

A man aged 26 and a woman aged 21 were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offences are currently in custody.

Two women in their 20s were found at the address and have been removed to a place of safety and they are now being spoken to by specially trained officers.

DI Mark Vaughton, of East CID, said:  “Identifying those involved in human trafficking or modern slavery can be extremely difficult. In many cases organised crime groups are behind the trafficking of people into the UK and they will target some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Today’s activity shows our commitment to tackling this issue and we want to encourage more victims to come forward knowing that there is help out there for them. I would urge anyone who suspects that someone is being treated in this way to contact us.

“I’d like to re-assure people that we do have a dedicated team working under Operation Proteus here in the division and that people will be dealt with professionally and sensitively if they do come forward.”

Anyone with information or concerns should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Signs to spot potential victims:

• Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, or appear withdrawn
• Rarely allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control and influence of others or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
• Live in dirty cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and could be living and working at the same address
• Have few personal possessions and often wear the same clothes
• Little opportunity to move freely and may have no identification documents or travel documents retained
• They may be dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either early or late at night
• Victims may avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fearful of law enforcers

For more information visit www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/safer-communities/modern-slavery.aspx

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