HUMAN trafficking victims have been urged to come forward following a raid on a Southampton brothel. 

Police forces from across the county joined forces to smash an alleged prostitution ring this week. 

A 26-year-old woman was arrested after officers swooped on a property in the Banister Park area of the city. 

Meanwhile, at least one victim was rescued in Southampton.

The operation involved a similar raid at an address in Reading.

In total, four people have been arrested in connection with the people-smuggling network that is said to have links to Romania.

Commenting on the raids, Councillor Matt Renyard, the cabinet member for a safer city has said there is ‘zero tolerance' for crimes related to human trafficking.

The Labour politician who represents the Coxford ward said: “As a city of sanctuary, Southampton has a strong track record of supporting refugees and asylum seekers with a rich and diverse network of community projects, working with groups at risk from exploitation.”

“These crimes are among the most despicable acts that one person can do to another, and we have zero tolerance for this type of abuse.

"If anyone is concerned that someone may be a victim of modern slavery or trafficking, please report any information you may have.”

READ MORE: Police confirm location in human trafficking investigation

Forces from Leeds, Birmingham, Reading, Oldham and Southampton took part in the stings on Tuesday alongside the National Crime Agency.

They seized more than £5,000 in cash as well as several mobile phones. 

However, all four of those arrested have since been arrested under investigation.

Police in Romania have been handed paperwork so they can deal with the suspects. 

In an unrelated case, Southampton parents have recently complained about drug use and 'kerb crawling' on Imperial Road near Mount Pleasant Junior School.

Concerns were raised about 'disgusting' littering which included needles and used condoms.

According to Hampshire Constabulary, the Covid pandemic had resulted in a slight increase in women returning to sex work.

A police spokesperson said that officers have been working with the city council to improve the safety of the area.


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