Putting an end to sex slave trade

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AN OPERATION to stamp out human sex trafficking which was previously confined to Cambridgeshire will now seek out brothels in Stamford, Oundle and Bourne.

AN OPERATION to stamp out human sex trafficking which was previously confined to Cambridgeshire will now seek out brothels in Stamford, Oundle and Bourne.A national operation called Pentameter 2 has been launched 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.

Officers involved in Cambridgeshire Police's Operation Radium, which was launched in August in a bid to clamp down on what has been dubbed as modern day slavery, have been offering advice on how Operation Pentameter 2 should be conducted.

Read our special feature: Major police operation targets 36 brothels across city and uncovers human trafficking nightmare.

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Since its launch, police have identified around 80 brothels in the county and rescued nine women, more than half of which were working in the Peterborough area.

Now brothels in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire will also be identified and visited by officers trying to find out if women have been lured from foreign countries under false pretences, forced to have sex with clients and kept virtual prisoners.

Officers have been left shocked at the scale of the problem and by the horrific tales women they have rescued told.

Head of Cambridgeshire's Serious and Organised Crime Unit DCI Kevin Vanterpool said: "When we launched this we really did not know what was under the stone, but when we turned it over it was amazing what we found.

"We did not realise the problem was as huge as it is.

"We are ahead of Operation Pentameter, which is basically doing what we have already been doing for the past few months, and we will continue to take action."

He said information from the public has been essential to the operation, with one or two vital pieces coming in a week.

He said the girls who had been rescued were from countries such as China, the Czech Republic and Cameroon.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith told reporters that the national operation would give a clearer picture of the scale of this "secret" crime.

The first Operation Pentameter was carried out last year and saw, nationally, 84 women and teenage girls freed, 232 people arrested and a total of 515 premises visited.

nPeteris Kalva (38) of Cherry Road, Wisbech, has been charged in connection with sex trafficking offences, which he denies.

Police are still trying to locate Kristaps Jansons (33), also from Wisbech, who they hope to speak with in connection with alleged sex trafficking offences.