Arrests in brothel crackdown

by Kurt Moroz Two people have been arrested and �50,000 seized at separate addresses in the borough as part of a city-wide crackdown on criminal gangs running brothels. A 70-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were detained after the

by Kurt Moroz

Two people have been arrested and �50,000 seized at separate addresses in the borough as part of a city-wide crackdown on criminal gangs running brothels.

A 70-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were detained after the early morning raids carried out in Cricklewood by the Met Police's Clubs and Vice Unit.

The woman in question was previously arrested in June 2008 after she surrendered to police to answer questions about the contents of a safe deposit box opened at a premises on Finchley Road.

She claimed that the contents - �150,000 in cash - had been accrued through incapacity benefits.

Police say the resulting investigation revealed a network of brothels, each working under a hierarchical system with a number of key players running each one.

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Other searches of properties across the capital on Tuesday saw a further 10 people detained on suspicion of trafficking, controlling prostitution, money laundering and possession of a stun gun.

Five women have also been rescued during the operation, which is codenamed Sanders and follows on from Operation Rize which targeted safety deposit boxes used by criminals.

Det Chief Supt Richard Martin said: "The experiences of the women forced into prostitution are horrendous. Rescuing these victims and ensuring their safety is our key priority."

The arrests follow a nine-month intelligence led operation into an organised criminal network concerned with the trafficking of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: "I'd like to congratulate the Met Police for such a successful operation - this is exactly the sort of action we want to see to crack down on trafficking and prostitution in London.

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