Officers Continue to Target Human Traffickers

Police have arrested two further people in connection with a major operation into human trafficking.

A man, 27, was arrested on Saturday 29th September and a man, 41, was arrested on Monday 24th September, both on suspicion of conspiracy to rape and conspiracy to commit human trafficking.

Both men were arrested in Stockton and they have been released under investigation.

Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Chris Stone, said: “Operation Cotton was launched in 2017 and since then officers from the investigating team have worked tirelessly in a bid to bring people to justice who are involved in human trafficking.

“To date, 23 men have been arrested during a series of raids in Stockton, Middlesbrough and Sheffield. Seven of the men have been released with no further action and 16 remain released under investigation.

“We would urge any victims to contact police or any of our partner agencies, who can offer the right support.”

Police are asking that anyone with information which might assist this investigation, perhaps by recognising that they too have been the victims of such abuse, contact Cleveland Police on 101.

Anyone who has experienced a sexual offence can also contact Teesside Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) regardless of whether or not the offence has been reported to the Police. SARC provides 24 hour crisis intervention and a range of options. SARC works in partnership with local specialist services (such as Barnardo’s and Arch) and can access support on your behalf. SARC crisis workers are available on 03333448283 at any time of day or night.

Contact details for A Way Out, SARC, Barnardo’s and Arch are as follows:

A Way Out: http://www.awayout.co.uk
SARC: www.sarcteesside.co.uk
Barnardo’s: http://www.barnardos.org.uk
Arch: http://www.archnortheast.org