POLICE have raided a brothel in Southampton as part of an investigation into a human trafficking gang. 

The action comes as a number of warrants have been carried out across the country. 

Below is everything we know so far about the action that has seen four people arrested so far: 

Why have these raids happened?

Police carried out the warrants across the country yesterday as part of an operation to combat a human trafficking gang. 

The organisation is linked to Romania and operates across Europe to traffic people from the country into the UK.

The operation was carried out by several police forces as well as the National Crime Agency, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and local authorities in each area. 

Wiltshire Police led the raids that saw seven addresses searched in total. 

How many were arrested?

In total four people were arrested as part of the operation with two men and two women taken into custody. 

They were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and money laundering. 

A 26-year-old woman was arrested in Southampton, a 27-year-old man was arrested in Birmingham and a 25-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man were arrested in Reading. 

They were taken to either Gablecross Police Station in Swindon or Melksham Police Station to be interviewed. 

They have since been released under investigation. 

Their paperwork is due to be passed on to police in Romania so they can deal with them.

Were there any victims?

Five victims were rescued in total across England including at least one in Southampton. 

They were also rescued in Reading and Oldham. 

Police partners and specialist officers are now supporting those people. 

It is not yet known how many victims were rescued in Southampton. 

Where were the brothels that were discovered?

As part of the raids two illegal brothels were found by police. 

One of these sites was in Southampton, whilst the other is based in Reading. 

The force has not revealed what part of the city the brothel was located in. 

What else was found in the searches?

More than five thousand pounds worth of cash was seized during the operation. 

Several mobile phones were also found. 

Police officers from Leeds, Birmingham, Reading, Oldham and Southampton took part in the action. 

What have the police said on the operation?

Detective Inspector Angela Shipp from Wiltshire Police described the raids as a "major international operation".

She added: "These illegal organised gangs operate all over the world - they know no boundaries - and cause misery to countless victims who are often enslaved, have to live in often horrendous conditions with no quality of life, and are forced into sexual exploitation to survive."

Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson said: “Ensuring our county is hostile to anyone involved in modern slavery or human trafficking is a priority. Protecting the weak and vulnerable victims is of paramount importance.

 “Slavery didn’t die out with its abolishment in earlier centuries, it has just found different ways to exist and exploit vulnerable victims.

"A person’s freedom and right-to-life are the most basic human rights and ones which must be robustly defended and this proactive policing operation has shown gangmasters and their enforcers there is nowhere to hide.”

If you suspect modern slavery or human trafficking taking place in your street, town or area, you can report any suspicious incidents via 101 or your local police force's website. Dial 999 if it's an emergency. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

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