N.Ireland police rescue 20 in human trafficking swoop

AFP
Police in Northern Ireland have rescued 20 possible victims of human trafficking in an investigation into labour exploitation, authorities say
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Police in Northern Ireland have rescued 20 possible victims of human trafficking in an investigation into labour exploitation, authorities say (AFP Photo/Peter Muhly)

London (AFP) - Police in Northern Ireland have rescued 20 possible victims of human trafficking in an investigation into labour exploitation, authorities said on Tuesday.

Police rescued the 20 Romanians - 14 men and six women aged between 20 and 48 - during the last five days from two locations in county Armagh.

Three suspects aged 23, 27 and 31 were arrested on suspicion of "human trafficking, forced labour and slavery and money laundering" the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

They are being questioned at Antrim police station.

The investigation is "linked to food production", police said, and translators have been flown to Northern Ireland from England to cope with the number of victims.

"This has been a fast-moving and complex operation which may continue for some time," said detective inspector Todd Clements of the PSNI's organised crime branch.

"The 20 people we have identified as potential victims of human trafficking for labour exploitation are in places of safety now. Our inquiries are continuing."

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