A NETWORK of Cambridgeshire brothels have been shut down and 25 people arrested in an operation to stamp out human sex trafficking.
A NETWORK of Cambridgeshire brothels have been shut down and 25 people arrested in an operation to stamp out human sex trafficking.The county police's Operation Radium, now part of the national Operation Pentameter Two, was publicly launched last August in a bid to rescue women and children who have been forced to work in the sex industry and prosecute the gangs who are profiting.
Special Report: 'Evil and disgusting' trade in sex slaves
Video: DCI Paul Fullwood outlines Operation Radium
Major police operation targets 36 brothels across city and uncovers human trafficking nightmare.
Now detectives say that as well as arresting a number of suspects, they have also rescued 10 young women and helped them to return to their home countries or taken them to safe accommodation to be cared for.
And in one spin-off operation from Radium, police are optimistic that they have closed down at least one network of foreign-run brothels across East Anglia as part of the clamp down on what has been dubbed modern day slavery.
Head of Operation Radium, Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Vanterpool said: "In the six months since the public launch of this operation, we have taken decisive action which has hit hard at the sex trafficking trade and the activities of those behind it.
"Much of the intelligence which has helped us has come from members of the public who have called, sometimes with vital clues.
"Operation Radium is continuing. We are determined, with the help of the public for which we are very grateful, to put an end to a trade which destroys the lives of young women."
As The Evening Telegraph reported, officers in Cambridgeshire launched the operation in May to identify 100 premises where women were being kept as sex slaves.
They appealed to the public for information about the activities of the criminal gangs, believed to be responsible for trafficking young women from the Far East, Eastern Europe and Africa.
In the first few months of the operation seven women – five in Peterborough – who had been horrifically abused, were rescued.
Officers discovered many of them had been forced to "service" up to 60 clients a day and were paid a pittance.
Five people have so far been charged in connection with two cases of trafficking.
MP for North West Cambridgeshire Shailesh Vara is also joint-vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trafficking of Women and Children.
Earlier this month he backed a national poster campaign aimed at urging the public not to turn a blind eye to the problem of human trafficking in general.
Don't Close Your Eyes to Human Trafficking posters will be featured on Stagecoach buses around the country.
nCambridgeshire police were today been praised for their vigilant clampdown on brothels in the county by CHASTE – Churches Alert to Trafficking Across Europe.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chaste Dr Carrie Pemberton said: "We applaud the work of Cambridgeshire Constabulary in the light of the news that 25 people have been arrested and a network of brothels has been shut down in an operation against human trafficking for the sex trade.
"This trade is absolutely insidious and it will take nerve, resources and total commitment by all sections of society to see it stamped out".