A woman in High Town has been arrested and a property closed after a police-led operation into a suspected organised crime group, believed to be running a brothel at the address.
Two properties in Frederick Street, Luton were raided by officers on Wednesday, September 18.
Inside one of the addresses, officers discovered evidence it was being used as a brothel, as well as a small amount of suspected Class A drugs.
A woman in her 20s was arrested and later bailed on suspicion of keeping a brothel, as well as possession of Class A drugs.
On Thursday, September 19, magistrates granted Beds Police a three-month closure on the address. A further hearing to secure a closure order on the other property is due to take place next week.
Officers will now be carrying out a wider investigation into the suspected organised crime ring behind the brothel.
The operation comes in the same week that police forces across the UK are undertaking coordinated activity to identify and safeguard victims of human trafficking who are being forced into sex work, and to arrest their traffickers.
Nationally, between July 2018 and July 2019, 230 cases of sexual exploitation were recorded by the Modern Slavery Helpline, indicating 506 potential victims.
Inspector Jim Goldsmith, from the Luton community policing team, said: “Human traffickers exploit victims in the sex industry because the demand for sexual services means they can generate vast criminal profits.
“Unlike drugs or firearms, which are only bought or sold once, a victim being exploited in this way represents a continuous source of income for criminals.
“Those paying for sex need to think about whether they are engaging a trafficked victim. Paying for sex with someone who has been trafficked is a criminal offence, regardless of whether the person paying knows that the other person has been trafficked.
“Law enforcement’s focus is on reducing vulnerability, protecting victims and targeting those who exploit or cause harm.
“These initial warrants will be just the start of our investigation, and we are determined to shut down those behind this exploitative and immoral industry.”
Anyone who is concerned that someone may be a victim of trafficking, or has information about trafficking, should report it to Bedfordshire Police on 101 or confidentially to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. In an emergency, always call 999.