Midland charges made after UK crackdown on human trafficking
Thirteen people, including five from the West Midlands, have been charged in connection with one of the UK’s biggest crackdowns of human trafficking to exploit labour.
The charges were announced exactly a year after teams swooped on a field near Holbeach, South Lincolnshire, where workers were employed picking leeks, as well as addresses across Northamptonshire and the Midlands where they were being housed.
More than 200 staff from nine different organisations took part in the crackdown on the alleged organised crime group believed to be trafficking people into the UK for cheap labour, dubbed Operation Ruby.
Northamptonshire Police said 13 people have now been charged in connection with the operation with offences including conspiracy in respect of people trafficking for exploitation and money laundering.
A spokesman said the operation involved the alleged trafficking of people to and within the UK from Slovakia, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
It is also alleged that up to £10 million was laundered through various companies set up to hide the trafficking.
The group charged are all due to appear at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court on December 15 and 22.
They include a 50-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman from Kettering, Northants; four Indian men aged 51, 29, 26 and 23, also from Kettering; a 49-year-old man from Coventry, and two men, aged 49 and 42 from Wolverhampton.
Also due to appear are two Polish men, aged 32 and 30, from Coventry; a 25-year-old Polish woman from Birmingham; and a 27-year-old Portuguese man from Spalding, Lincolnshire.
Operation Ruby, led by the East Midlands Foreign National Crime team within Northamptonshire Police together with the UK Border Agency, also involved the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (GLA).