TWO men were arrested in a human trafficking sting in the town, as police rescued eight potential victims of exploitation yesterday.
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.
The force, in line with Home Office edicts, formed the Human Exploitation and Emerging Threats unit late last year – a special taskforce designed to gather intelligence and smash the organised gangs that deal in the trade in human beings.
The unit comprises six officers, including detectives and a financial investigator, and has already acted to gather vital intelligence.
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.”
Victims of exploitation can be referred to the Home Office’s National Referral Mechanism which seeks to repatriate victims to their homeland.
Anyone with any information should call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information on human trafficking and the laws around it, contact the Serious Organised Crime Agency on www.soca.gov.uk.