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Trafficked children ‘forced to steal on London Underground’ | #tinder | #pof | #match | #sextrafficking | romancescams | #scams


London Underground stations were targeted as part of an operation to identify children who are the victims of trafficking (Picture: Getty)

Children made to work as pickpockets on the London Underground are among dozen of human trafficking victims rescued in a major crackdown.

Public transport stations and a ‘distressing’ suspected brothel in east London were among locations targeted during the operation.

According to the National Crime Agency, 38 people were arrested as part of ‘Project Aidant’ and 99 victims were identified.

Of those, 72 were children, some of whom are believed to have been forced to steal from tube passengers by gang leaders.

The NCA said 18 of those arrested are suspected of child criminal and drug-related crimes, 11 were arrested for sexual exploitation offences and the remainder were taken in ‘for a variety of offences including domestic servitude, labour exploitation and general trafficking’.

According to the agency, almost 5,000 children in the UK were identified as potential victims of trafficking and exploitation in 2020 alone.

Extra officers were sent to patrol London tube station to identify children the authorities believe are forced to work as pickpockets on platforms.

A London Underground station.

Investigators believe children are forced to work as pickpockets in stations by gang leaders (Picture: Getty)

A number of women were identified as potential victims after being found in ‘distressing conditions’ inside a suspected brothel.

Inside, ‘young Romanian girls and women’ were allegedly being exploited, according to the NCA.

According to the agency, the women were ‘being sold for as low as £20 per hour for sex work’ and a benefits investigation has been launched into potentially fraudulent claims linked to the address.

Extra checks at the Channel Tunnel identified a Romanian man 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’, the NCA said, and he expected to earn £40 a day.

A shadow behind a curtain.

Thousands of children are identified as potential victims every year (Picture: Getty)

The Europe-wide investigation involved 19 police forces from across the UK, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement, British Transport Police, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions.

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.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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