Live updates

Four arrests made in Bristol human trafficking investigation

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking. Credit: PA

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and slavery offences linked to a nail bar in Bristol.

Avon and Somerset Police received a call on July 31 reporting concerns for a woman’s welfare.

Officers attended a nail bar in the Southmead area of Bristol, where a woman was located and taken to a place of safety.

Searches were carried out at the premises and a residential address in St Pauls.

Four people were arrested on suspicion of trafficking/slavery offences, three women, aged 46, 24 and 21 and an 18-year-old man.

Advertisement

What it's like to live in slavery: one man's story

An organised crime gang in Plymouthhave been found guilty of using a group of men as slaves and exploiting them.

This is the first prosecution of its kind brought by police in Devon and Cornwall. But that doesn't mean this is an isolated problem - either here or elsewhere.

13,000
estimated possible victims in the UK
884
cases were referred to the National Crime Agency in the 12 months to April
117
resulted in successful prosecutions

Kylie Pentelow has been talking to one of those people whose case hasn't resulted in a conviction.

After coming to work in the UK, he struggled to find a job and ended up living in appalling conditions. He's asked us to protect his identity:

At the scene: Organised crime gang guilty of using men as slaves

An organised crime gang in Plymouth have been found guilty of using a group of men as slaves and exploiting them.

The victims were promised a better life in the UK. In fact, what they were given was modern day slavery.

A succession of Czech nationals were brought over to Plymouth and then set to work. They were beaten, punched and told they would be killed if they tried to escape.

The Charges

Credit: Elizabeth Cook
  • Ruzena Tancosova - charged with conspiracy to traffic for the purpose of exploitation, requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and acting as a gangmaster
  • Petr Tancos - charged with conspiracy to traffic for the purpose of exploitation, requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Nela Dzurkova - charged with conspiracy to traffic for the purpose of exploitation
  • Martin Tancos - charged with conspiracy to traffic for the purpose of exploitation and acting as a gangmaster
  • Katerina Kurejova - charged with conspiracy to traffic for the purpose of exploitation

The Verdict

Claire Manning was at Plymouth Crown Court for the verdict and sent this report:

Advertisement

Safe place for male victims of slavery in Bristol

The centre will be the first of its kind in the UK. Credit: Unseen

The first ever safehouse in this country for men who are victims of slavery is to open in Bristol.

The centre, run by anti-slavery charity Unseen, received nearly half a million pounds of funding from Big Lottery.

"When men are found and rescued by statutory agencies, by the police, our safehouse will offer them a place to come, a place to be looked after, to gain support and to get their lives back on track."

– Kate Garbers, Managing Director of Unseen

8 arrested as part of human trafficking investigation

Eight men arrested after reports of sexual exploitation in Bristol

Eight men have been arrested after two women reported incidents of sexual exploitation committed against them at a property in Bristol.

The arrests were made as part of an investigation into human trafficking. The women also gave details surrounding the arrangement of forced marriages and an investigation was launched.

Four properties in Bristol were searched as a result of these enquiries. They were in Eastville, Easton, Southville and Oldbury Court. Two further properties in Birmingham were also searched.

We received information at the end of last month about potential offences relating to human trafficking and forced marriages.

We are focussed on ensuring victims of suspected human trafficking are protected and offenders are brought to justice.

Prior to the warrants being carried out, the two young women were taken to safe accommodation and supported by The Salvation Army. The UK Human Trafficking Centre was also notified.

There's a significant amount of work still to do on this inquiry and we are focussed on ensuring victims of suspected human trafficking are protected and offenders are brought to justice wherever possible.

– Det Insp Peter Highway, of the Public Protection Unit

Another potential victim

Police say another potential victim has come forward following raids on properties in South Gloucestershire and Bristol as part of an investigation into forced labour and exploitation.

The man, in his 30s, is being looked after by specialist support workers, as are the three men, discovered on Sunday.

This remains an investigation very much focused on locating, safeguarding and protecting victims.

As a direct result of our operation on Sunday, another man has come forward identifying himself as a victim.

This is a positive sign and we are hopeful more people will now feel able to speak out.

I would like to say to anyone who feels they are a victim, please have the confidence to approach us.

You can feel reassured that we will listen to you and you will be able to get all the help and advice you need.

Six people have been arrested in connection with this operation so far, two for slavery offences, two for drugs and two for money laundering.

They have all been bailed to dates between mid-January and late February to allow us time to carry out further enquiries.

– Head of CID, Chief Superintendent Julian Moss
Load more updates