Suburban houses targeted in bid to free women from slave trade
By Mark Cowan
Midland Independent Newspapers
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND — Police in Birmingham are to launch an autumn blitz on the pimps trafficking women and forcing them into the sex trade.
Detectives have spent months gathering intelligence on the gangs luring young women into the region to sell them into prostitution.
In recent years, the trend in prostitution in Birmingham has moved to private houses in quiet suburban streets.
While some women may be working of their own free will, there are fears that others are being forced into prostitution.
But Operation Pentameter II, launched today, will target criminal gangs preying on Eastern European women who think they are coming to the region to work in bars.
West Midlands Police's Chief Supt Steve Glover said: "Action is planned through autumn and winter within the West Midlands area following months of intelligence gathering.
"The prostitution trend has moved away from a visible street presence towards the use of private houses in normal residential streets.
"If anyone has any information that can assist us in tackling prostitution they should contact police."
This new operation comes almost two years after a similar blitz in which more than 80 women and girls as young as 14 were rescued.
About half were from a range of Eastern European countries and the rest from the Far East, Africa and South America.
Trafficked women can be forced to have sex with up to 40 strangers a day after being brought into the country.
Prosecutors said "slave auctions" of women were taking place at British airports with brothel keepers bidding for women as soon as they arrived on UK soil.
In August 2005 police launched a high profile raid on Cuddles massage parlour, in Hagley Road, Bearwood, to rescue 19 women.
The tip-off came after a Hungarian girl forced into prostitution managed to give officers clues about where she being held. A number of people were later jailed.
A month earlier, police in Kings Heath rescued a young Lithuanian woman from the clutches of a pimp.
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Police launch new blitz on sex trade in Great Britain