Two potential victims of modern slavery are being supported by Hope for Justice after being rescued during a police raid on a Huddersfield property.
West Yorkshire Police swooped on a house at 6am yesterday and rescued two women as part of a series of raids across Europe.
Global anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice has provided language support and independent advice for the victims, who are being safeguarded at a Victim Reception Centre, with the charity’s ongoing support.
A man, aged 38, and a woman, aged 42, were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act and have since been bailed.
Simultaneous police raids took place in Austria and Romania as part of the investigation, led by the Force’s Programme Precision Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Team.
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.”
Hope for Justice’s investigators regularly work with police and other agencies to identify victims of modern slavery, build bridges of trust with them and remove them from exploitation.
During yesterday’s raids, West Yorkshire Police was also supported by the National Crime Agency, the United Kingdom Central Authority (UKCA), and Kirklees District Police during the Fartown operation.
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.”
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.”
To report a concern, call Hope for Justice on 0300 008 8000 (local rate call) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In an emergency, always call 999.