Routine traffic stop in Harrogate results in two people arrested for people trafficking offences

A suspected victim of people trafficking has been safeguarded after a routine traffic stop led to two people being arrested for modern slavery crimes.

Police arrested a man from Leeds and a woman from Birmingham over suspected people trafficking offences following a routine stop in Harrogate

Traffic officers pulled over a silver Audi saloon car on Burn Bridge Road at Pannal, Harrogate, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

But the routine stop resulted in the arrests of a 47-year-old man from Leeds and a 32-year-old woman from Birmingham – both of whom were arrested for suspected modern slavery and people trafficking offences.

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Both have been released under investigation.

A 23-year-old woman from Leeds is being safeguarded after she was found in the car stopped in Harrogate

A 23-year-old woman who was also in the car was initially arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A drug, but was released without charge. North Yorkshire Police said she was now being safeguarded.

Anyone with information which could help detectives in the investigation is being urged to get in touch.

Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, Head of Safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said: “Understanding and tackling modern slavery and human trafficking is a priority to North Yorkshire Police.

“People mistakenly think that slavery impacts only densely populated, inner city areas. However, rural areas are vulnerable to slavery too and I can assure you, slavery is closer to you here in North Yorkshire than you think.

“Police are fully committed to finding the gangs who target and exploit vulnerable people. However, we need the eyes and the ears of the public to help us in our task.

“Safeguarding the vulnerable in our local community, and society as a whole, is everyone’s business and everyone has a role to play.”

Det Supt Harder added: “If you use hand car washes, nail bars or engage with any of the other industries or services which are susceptible to slavery, please be vigilant for any signs of forced labour.

“Do the employees look ok? Do they seem anxious or fearful? Are they wearing suitable clothing for the task they are carrying out? Do they have any visible injuries? Do they look you in the eye or seem to avoid conversation or contact? Are they brought to and picked up from work?

“If there is anything which raises your suspicion – we want to know.”