Police have made a number of arrests including in Bexleyheath as part of a modern slavery investigation.
The investigation is in relation to trafficking of Chinese women in to the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Arrests took place in Hackney, Hounslow, Bexleyheath, Watford and Kingston.
According to police: “Warrants resulted in eight arrests on the morning of Tuesday, 16 March, six males and two females, with individuals being arrested on suspicion of crimes including controlling prostitution for gain contrary to Section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation contrary to Sections 2(1) and 5(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
It is believed that some of the addresses entered by police were operating as brothels.
Officers who entered the addresses were accompanied by officers from the MSCE, interpreters and Mandarin speaking officers.
Vulnerable people at the addresses are now receiving support from specialist officers.
Police will now work to seize evidence to support offences of human trafficking and controlling prostitution, including proceeds of crime, mobile phones, computers, travel documents, criminal assets, cash, passports, ledgers, and any material linked to sex adverts.”
“Acting Detective Inspector Nick Bland of the Central Specialist Crime Unit said: “This morning’s operation, despite being the culmination of a lengthy investigation, is only the first step in bringing the people arrested to face the consequences for their actions.
“Young women who are trafficked in to this country for sexual exploitation are often sold a dream in terms of what their life in the UK may look like, that dream is quickly unraveled upon their arrival to the country, where they will often be forced to live in abject poverty and be at the beck and call of their traffickers. In some cases it is impossible for these women to escape to their home countries as their travel documents are confiscated.
“We know that crimes such as these are amongst some the most damaging to victims. They will no doubt have suffered untold pain and distress during their time in this country under the influence of these individuals.”