Five children who are feared to be victims of human trafficking have been discovered in Scotland by police.
Officers taking part in a National Crime Agency -led investigation as part of Project Aidant have now safeguarded the youths after they were identified last month.
Around 100 potential victims across the UK have been identified while 38 arrests have been made in connection.
The major operation, which also took place across Europe, involved 19 police forces across the country as well as Border Force, British Transport Police and the DWP.
Of those arrested, 18 were for child criminal and drug related exploitation, 11 were for sexual exploitation, while the rest were for a variety of offences including domestic servitude, labour exploitation and general trafficking.
Although the activity targeted those exploiting children, a number of adult potential victims were also located as a result of the work.
The NCA and Metropolitan Police Service also searched what they suspected to be a brothel where young Romanian girls and women were allegedly being exploited in East London.
The search officers didn’t encounter any children, but they did find several Romanian women working in distressing conditions and being sold for as low as £20 per hour for sex work.
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DWP investigators have also begun an investigation into potentially fraudulent claims being made by people at the address.
Police Scotland identified and safeguarded five minors that had allegedly been trafficked to the UK, launching five new investigations.
Border Force officers also carried out additional checks at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Coquelles to detect potential victims of trafficking travelling through UK juxtaposed controls, finding a Romanian male travelling in a minibus, coming to work in the UK for the first time with no work permit.
His travelling companions had recruited him from his village and paid for his travel and documentation.
He expected to earn just £40 a day. The man has been safeguarded due to his perceived vulnerability and obvious signs of distress.
Liam Harrison from the NCA’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit said: “This activity, which was months in the making, identified and safeguarded victims of child trafficking and disrupted those controlling them.
“Our joint work across the week has also sparked a number of new investigations and it is expected that these results will rise over the coming weeks as our operational activity continues.”
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