Arrests made following trafficking and exploitation event (28 October 2016)

Police across West Yorkshire teamed up with partners in a recent operation aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. 

On National Anti-Slavery Day (18 October), officers from West Yorkshire Police were at Leeds Bradford International Airport with partners from support agencies, including Hope for Justice, to make passengers on incoming European flights aware of the support that is available if they had any concerns. 

On the same day police in Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds Districts held conferences to raise awareness of modern slavery. These were attended by more than 200 people from partner agencies. 

The following day (19 October) officers in Calderdale received a report that a 19-year-old woman had been sexually exploited after allegedly being trafficked into the country.  

Officers from the district are liaising with Greater Manchester Police and two men aged 39 and 34, from Halifax and the Greater Manchester area respectively, have been arrested and bailed in connection with this investigation. 

Detective Inspector Andy Leonard, of West Yorkshire Police's Human Trafficking Team, said:  

"Human trafficking is often a hidden crime and these types of awareness events enable us to educate the public about how they can help us to tackle it. 

"We are committed to working with partners to collectively address the many associated aspects and effectively support the victims of sexual exploitation. 

"Victims can be assured that any reports will be thoroughly investigated by specially trained officers, who will be there every step of the way to guide them through an investigation." 

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said: 

"By working together, we can better support victims and target the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes and practices.  

"This latest proactive police action, is another positive step toward protecting the most vulnerable in our society to whom I have made a personal commitment. 

"Earlier this year, I launched the first ever National Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Network to help those affected. 

"Addressing this trade in human misery also continues to play a crucial part within my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan." 

Hope for Justice's European Programme Director, Neil Wain, said:  

"Hope for Justice is committed to ending this atrocious crime. We work closely with West Yorkshire Police and other agencies on rescue investigations and operations, and also on specialist training for police officers around the country to improve their capacity to identify potential victims and respond.  

"Ending slavery and bringing traffickers to justice will require exactly the kind of multi-disciplinary, multi-agency approach that we have seen during this operation." 

Anyone who has any concerns about people being trafficked or sexually exploited can the police via 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018