Herts police stop trucks in crackdown on human trafficking
PUBLISHED: 11:08 09 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010
HGV drivers were stopped and searched this week in a combined operation to raise awareness of the trade in human trafficking. No illegal entrants were found at the A5 truck stop in Flamstead but more than £16,000-worth of unpaid fines were recovered from
HGV drivers were stopped and searched this week in a combined operation to raise awareness of the trade in human trafficking.
No illegal entrants were found at the A5 truck stop in Flamstead but more than £16,000-worth of unpaid fines were recovered from hauliers who had previously been caught after stowaways had managed to get on board because their vehicles were not properly secured.
The operation was carried out by the new Herts Anti-Trafficking Board which comprises a number of agencies including Herts Police, the county council and the UK Border Agency.
DCI Paul Williamson from the Herts Police Serious and Organised Crime Group said: "There are people who smuggle themselves on board vehicles entering the country but there are also people, including children and other vulnerable people, who become the victims of trafficking gangs.
"People who have been trafficked in this way are treated and kept in the most appalling of conditions. Even if they manage to reach their destination, both adults and children may well be forced to work in the sex trade, cultivate illegal drugs and become domestic slaves or work in squalid conditions for little or no money."
He described it as, "a 21st-Century slave trade" with human beings ruthlessly exploited by criminal gangs and said that sometimes drivers were unaware that someone had been smuggled on board or may be under threat themselves to participate in the trafficking.
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