The Metropolitan Police have arrested 18 people yesterday evening (Thursday, 20 October), as part of a proactive multi-agency operation to tackle organised crime including human trafficking, exploiting prostitution for gain, immigration offences and money laundering.
‘Operation Lanhydrock’ was launched to combat areas of criminality which have affected Chinatown and Soho in central London. The aim of the operation is to identify, safeguard and remove victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and modern slavery offences.
Police officers executed warrants at six commercial properties which are believed to be running as brothels utilising trafficked woman under the guise of massage parlours. They raided premises in Newport Court, Archer Street, Dean Street, Rupert Street and two in Shaftesbury Avenue.
Temporary Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan, from Westminster, who is the Met’s lead for the operation, said:
“The operation is aimed at bringing to justice those who seek to profit from the exploitation of vulnerable people.
“We are sending a message to the criminals in this area that London is a hostile environment for this type of activity, and that those who are involved can expect to be caught and punished.”
Those arrested by Met officers include a 55-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm (a stun-gun) and a 37-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of fraud.
Four other women (aged 25, 35, 22 and 49) and a 37-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of being involved in prostitution for gain.
The remainder were detained on suspicion of immigration offences.