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Two potential victims of modern slavery rescued in Huddersfield

A man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act/

Potential victims of modern slavery have been rescued from a house in Huddersfield after a series of international raids across Europe on Wednesday.

Simultaneous raids took place at 6am in Huddersfield led by the Force’s Programme Precision Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team, Austria and Romania on 13 May after an ongoing European-wide investigation.

The team has been supported by the National Crime Agency, the United Kingdom Central Authority (UKCA) and the charity, Hope for Justice.

Kirklees District Police also provided help during the operation.

Two women were rescued. They are being supported and safeguarded by Hope for Justice.

A man (aged 38) and a woman (aged 42) were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act. They have been bailed.

Detective Superintendent Carl Galvin (Protective Services Crime), 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.

“Alternatively you can give information online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat or anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

“Or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. Always call 999 in an emergency.”

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, 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.

“Human trafficking and modern day slavery is a sad reality and threat both nationally and regionally. Not only can it have a traumatic impact on its victims, but those involved in human trafficking often have links to other serious organised crime and have no regard for human life. West Yorkshire has already led the way nationally for a number of years in tackling human trafficking and modern day slavery when I helped establish and invested in a dedicated team back in 2014.

“As the national PCC lead for modern slavery and human trafficking I will continue to push for further measures to be put in place to ensure victims of trafficking and slavery are fully supported and provided with appropriate accommodation once safeguarded. Victims of slavery and trafficking are amongst the most vulnerable and it’s right that changes are constantly reviewed to ensure they are properly protected and supported to help recover from the trauma of their exploitation and abuse.”

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