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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Tim Ireland/PA Wire A police van in Bristol (File photo)
# Bristol
Three men rescued in slavery raid by British police
Police carried out a series of raids in the Bristol area earlier today and rescued the three men.

THREE MEN, ALL believed to be victims of slavery, have been rescued by British police.

Police officers investigating forced labour and human trafficking carried out a series of raids in the Bristol area earlier today at three traveller sites, a business unit and two houses.

The Avon and Somerset police force said the three male victims – one in his 30s, one in his 40s and one in his 50s  - found during the searches have been taken to a safe place and are being given help and support.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of slavery offences.

The raids were the result of a five-week investigation following intelligence built up by detectives. A senior police officer said the inquiry is ongoing and complex.

“We know from talking with other police forces and charities… that victims in such cases are often forced to live and work in poor and unsanitary conditions, sometimes with little or no pay,” said Chief Superintendent of Avon and Somerset Constabulary Julian Moss.

“Some of those affected will not view themselves as victims and, even if they do, may have been unable to speak to the police or any other authorities for a variety of reasons,” he said.

“To the outside world the fear and intimidation faced by victims of forced labour on a daily basis are difficult to comprehend. Today’s operation is a very visible statement of our intent to protect people from this type of exploitation,” he said.

He also pre-empted some speculation about the people who were arrested. “It’s important to recognise that the actions of a small minority of people are not reflective of the wider Travelling community,” he said.

“Similar investigations in other parts of the country show the issue of forced labour, domestic servitude and human trafficking is prevalent in many areas of society,” said Moss.

Police arrested five other people in connection with the case on charges ranging from money laundering, handling stolen goods, cannabis production and failing to appear. A large sum of cash was found at one of the addresses while cannabis plants were discovered at another location searched by officers.

Read: London slavery case couple were leaders of a Maoist collective >

Read: Concerns over Irish procedures for handling domestic slavery cases >

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