Twenty ‘trafficking victims’ rescued by police in Co Antrim

PSNI officers question three men over forced labour and slavery after Romanians found

Police in the North have rescued 20 potential trafficking victims and have arrested three men on suspicion of forced labour and slavery.

Police in the North have rescued 20 potential trafficking victims and have arrested three men on suspicion of forced labour and slavery.

Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 20:40

Police in the North have rescued 20 potential trafficking victims and have arrested three men on suspicion of forced labour and slavery.

The 14 men and six women discovered by the PSNI are all from Romania and are aged between 20 and 48. They were rescued from two Co Armagh locations at various times since last Wednesday.

The three men arrested by police in Co Armagh and Co Antrim during the operation are being questioned in on suspicion of “ human trafficking, forced labour and slavery and money laundering”, the PSNI said in a statement. They are aged 23, 27 and 31. Police have also searched two properties and seized three vehicles in connection with the investigation.

Translators have been flown in from England to help police cope with the number of victims and the volume of information that needs to be processed, the PSNI said.

Officers have been in contact with the UK Human Trafficking Centre to ensure the victims are kept safe.

“This has been a fast-moving and complex operation which may continue for some time,” Detective Inspector Todd Clements from organised crime branch of the PSNI said. He said the 20 potential victims are in “places of safety” and inquiries are continuing. The investigation by the PSNI has been running for several days.

Detectives have also ben liaising with Gangmaster Licensing Authority (a UK agency which regulates the supply of workers) as part of the investigations which is linked to food production. However it is understood employers were not complicit in the matter.