TWO people have been charged in connection with a Lancashire Constabulary investigation into sex trafficking.
Officers carried out dawn raids at addresses in Blackburn and Preston earlier this week (Wednesday, August 25th) and four people were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking.
Following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service two men have now been charged.
They are Andrei Vitan, 23, of Andrew Street, Preston who is charged with human trafficking and controlling prostitution and Nicolae Constantin, 23, of Palatine Road, Blackburn, charged with human trafficking, controlling prostitution and indecent exposure.
They were both due to appear before Blackburn Magistrates’ Court this morning (Friday, August 27th)
Two other men aged 37 and 38 from Blackburn have been released under investigation.
Earlier this year the constabulary’s East Exploitation Team began Operation Elco looking into the activities of a trafficking ring operating in Blackburn and Preston.
The investigation began to show the group were operating and controlling the prostitution of women across different parts of the county and more widely.
Prostitution services and brothels were uncovered in Blackpool , Warrington, Norfolk and Leicester that were being controlled by the group.
Lancashire Constabulary is committed to investigating human trafficking and modern slavery and taking robust action against those willing to exploit others for financial gain.
To pass on information anonymously you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or complete an anonymous form online www.crimestoppers-uk.org . When you contact them your identity will be protected.
If you think that someone is in immediate danger call 999, if you suspect slavery is happening and there is no immediate threat to life then contact us on 101.
Lancashire Victims Services are also here to offer help and support, even if you haven’t reported a crime to the police. Contact them on 0300 323 0085.
There is also a national Modern Slavery Helpline offering confidential help and advice, you can also report information to them on 08000 121 700.
For more information see our website https://lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/safer-communities/modern-slavery/