TWO women have been arrested in Leamington on suspicion of running brothels.
It follows raids by Warwickshire Police as part a national operation targeting prostitution and human trafficking.
The police action included the search of nine properties and the arrests of 15 suspects on suspicion of conspiracy to manage and control brothels.
The arrests included a 38 year-old woman and a 40 year-old woman in Leamington. Two people in Nuneaton, a man aged 54 and woman, aged 40, were also arrested. All have been released on police bail.
Det Ch Insp Ally Wright from Warwickshire Police, who led the investigation, said: “Prostitution of this type is a sophisticated and organised crime and there could be a number of vulnerable victims, many of whom may have been trafficked into the UK illegally and made to work in the brothels to pay off their debt to the traffickers – amounting to modern slavery.
“In some instances the organised crime groups may threaten and intimidate many of the women working in the brothels who in turn may have a fear of cooperating with police and law enforcement agencies.
“The investigation team worked with the National Crime Agency and The British Red Cross and ensured that victims had access to interpreters and were treated sensitively and with compassion.
DCI Wright confirmed the raids were the latest in a coordinated police operation throughout the UK targeting ruthless organised crime groups which used and abused vulnerable women to make substantial profits.
She added: “Searches recovered a significant number of phones, cash and banking materials which will allow officers to examine the structure and hierarchy of this organised crime group.
“We urge any potential victims to come forward so we can offer them the best possible protection and support and police will continue to work with partner agencies to disrupt and dismantle these groups.”
Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police led a multi-force operation
Detectives also raided properties in Reading, Slough, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, London and Torquay which they believed were being used as brothels.
Two women in Leamington were among those arrested on suspicion of running brothels. (s)