Camden, Westminster raids as 14 arrested in sex trafficking warrants

A Samurai sword seized during the raids in London this morning

A Samurai sword seized during the raids in London this morning - Credit: Met Police

Fourteen people have been arrested in London and Romania as police investigate suspected trafficking of women into the UK for sexual exploitation.

Nine men and five women were taken into custody this morning - Wednesday, May 18 - amid a series of raids targeting an organised crime group (OCG), including at properties in Camden and Westminster.

It’s believed the group is trafficking women from Romania who are then being sexually exploited through a purported high class escort business in London.

Police suspect large scale profits are being generated through the operation, which are then being laundered through UK banks and sent to Romanian accounts for the benefit of the high-ranking members of the OCG.

In the early hours of this morning, officers from the Met’s specialist crime command carried out six search warrants across the capital, arresting two men and four women aged between 25 and 39.

Police say they also seized a Samurai sword, Class A drugs, cash and high value goods during searches in Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden.

Two women - both Romanian nationals - were found at raided properties and are being supported by specially trained officers, according to the Met.

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Meanwhile, seven men and one woman were arrested during 10 warrants executed at the same time in Romania.

The Met says the Romanian National Police seized four cars worth around €250,000 and have applied to seize assets totalling an estimated €1million.

Detective Inspector Jim Madden, from the specialist crime command, said: "This investigation will continue as we look to find everyone involved, protect vulnerable victims and uncover the true scale of this illegal operation.

"The Met’s modern slavery team works around the clock to identify people involved in human trafficking and those who are subsequently sexually exploited, and we play a role in protecting and supporting hundreds of victims each year.

"We work closely with national and international partners to share intelligence and identify and detain criminals who profit from exploiting vulnerable people."