Three Birmingham men arrested in human trafficking investigation

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The trio were detained following a series of raids in the city centre and Nechells areas

Three men were arrested in Birmingham on 17 August for “enslaving” people to work at a cannabis farm discovered in 2021.

The trio were detained following a series of raids in the city centre and Nechells areas, all related to the discovery of a cannabis farm by Cleveland Police in 2021.

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The National Crime Agency investigation into modern slavery and human trafficking lead to the arrest of a 35-year-old manin Essex Street. He was held on suspicion of holding a person in slavery or servitude, production and supply of a controlled drug and cultivating cannabis.

A 26-year-old man was also arrested from the location for possession of drugs and money laundering. An estimated £25,000 cash was recovered.

Cash recovered from the Essex Street address during the investigationCash recovered from the Essex Street address during the investigation
Cash recovered from the Essex Street address during the investigation | National crime agency

At an address in Nechells Park Road a 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arranging the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.

NCA senior investigating officer Paul Boniface said: “Our investigation is focused on a crime group suspected of trafficking mainly Vietnamese migrants into the UK illegally. The victims would be transported often hundreds of miles across the country and then put to work in cannabis farms.

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“This type of exploitation is often hidden in plain sight. As part of our investigations we have come across cannabis farms operating in residential streets, or near busy retail premises. I would ask anyone who sees anything suspicious that they may think may be connected to modern slavery to report it.”

Rob Richardson, from the NCA’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit said: “Many victims of modern slavery in the UK have been trafficked from overseas – frequently from eastern Europe, south east Asia, and Africa – and their exploitation often begins during their journey.

“Human trafficking is different from people smuggling in that victims may be forced, coerced or tricked into travelling, rather than willingly making the journey, but some of those who begin their journeys willingly will find themselves under the control of traffickers. Those who arrive here illegally are always more vulnerable.”

How to identify a modern slavery victim?

Victims may show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, and have few or no personal effects. They could be regularly wearing the same items of clothing and may appear to be under the control or influence of others, rarely being allowed to travel on their own.

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If you suspect someone to be a victim of Modern Slavery, contact the 24/7 Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700, or your local police on 101. Your information could save a life. In an emergency always call 999.

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