Scottish police find trafficking victims after Europe-wide operation

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Five suspected human trafficking victims were identified by police in Scotland following a Europe-wide operation.

Three children were among those who officers believe were being exploited, one of them sexually.

A crackdown on human trafficking and modern slavery in June saw 44 arrests in the UK – six in Scotland – and a total of 35 potential victims identified.

Checks at homes, businesses and Stansted Airport were carried out as part of the week-long operation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and involving 18 police forces.

Europol co-ordinated activity across 16 EU states, as well as Iceland and Switzerland, with more than 200 potential victims identified.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, head of public protection at Police Scotland, said: “Trafficking and exploitation is a blight on our communities. Victims are often vulnerable, they may be trapped with limited freedom or options.

“Eliminating all forms of trafficking and exploitation and protecting people from harm continues to be one of Police Scotland’s top priorities.

“We will continue to use focused days of action to disrupt and identify those who control, abuse and exploit others, to bring them to justice and to restrict their activities.

“And we will continue to target criminals working with partners, including the NCA, to bring offenders to justice, and to raise public awareness to help identify victims and ensure they get the support they need.”