TWO men have been arrested today on suspicion of human trafficking offences in Swindon.
The men, both from Lithuania, were arrested following three raids at separate locations in the town earlier today.
As a result of the operation, eight Lithuanian men and women have been identified as potentially being exploited by the men and are now being given the full support of Wiltshire Police and partnership agencies.
Detective Sergeant Rob Findlay of the Human Exploitation Team at Wiltshire Police said: "These raids should act as a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal trade of human trafficking that the net is closing.
"Wiltshire Police will robustly investigate any incident of possible trafficking and bring those responsible to face justice.
"Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are abhorrent crimes which see people being used as commodities – traded between others, usually for financial gain.
"The victims, who are now in our care following these raids, will now be given the full support from Wiltshire Police and our partnership agencies.
"Community-based intelligence proves crucial in investigations such as this and I would always urge anyone with information on something they think is suspicious to report it to Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously."
The Salvation Army confirmed that all victims have been safely delivered into protective care.
Major Anne Read, The Salvation Army's Anti-Trafficking Response Co-ordinator, said: "The Salvation Army is working with Wiltshire Police to rescue and support potential victims of trafficking.
"It is vital that victims of trafficking receive immediate access to specialised support. Our team has been working to assess the needs of the victims and ensure that they have access to accommodation and support at safe houses if needed.
"The Salvation Army operates a Government contract to provide vital help and support to adult victims of this pitiless exploitation which gives them the very best chance to try and recover through the comprehensive specialised services we can offer working with our partners.
"The safety of victims and support for the Police in successfully prosecuting the perpetrators of this horrific crime are our key priorities. It is therefore not appropriate at this stage to disclose any further details about the victims or the nature of this crime."
For more information on human trafficking and the laws around it, contact the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on www.soca.gov.uk.