British police attempt to smash South-East Asian sex trafficking ring – UN report
The largest ever police operation to target sex trafficking in the UK recovered some 167 women and girls forced to work in the sex industry, including 13 children – the youngest just 15 years old.
The UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) reported that 528 suspects were arrested during the investigation, code-named Operation Pentameter 2 (UKP2), after UK police raided 157 massage parlours and saunas, and 582 residential premises across the country.
Within a month after the arrests were made, more than 80 individuals were charged for a variety of offences and a number of others remain on bail while investigations continue, said the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) report.
The UNIAP report also noted that the bulk of criminal activity of trafficking for sexual exploitation into the UK originates in South-East Asia, where victims are controlled by debt bondage. Most of the other victims came from Eastern Europe and were coerced into the sex industry through violence.
The operation attacked suspects’ finances and assets as a strategy to cause maximum disruption to their criminal activities. Through UKP2 investigations over £500,000 (about $750,000) in cash has been seized and more than £3 million in further assets was initially restrained pending further investigation, but this figure may increase.
UNIAP was established to facilitate a stronger and more coordinated response to human trafficking, in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), comprising Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.