Alleged human trafficking victim rescued at Toddington services station

A potential human trafficking victim was safeguarded as part of a joint operation led by Bedfordshire Police.

The man was identified by police and National Crime Agency officers at Toddington Services yesterday (Thursday).

Officers intercept the vehicle at Toddington

Officers intercept the vehicle at Toddington

He had been dropped off at the services for further transport to begin work at a car wash.

However, officers identified some concerns around his welfare and further questioning suggested the man had been trafficked.

He was then safeguarded and referred to support services.

The man was identified by officers on an operation at Toddington Services targeting human trafficking.

The police operation at Toddington

The police operation at Toddington

Bedfordshire Police led the operation alongside Immigration Enforcement, Central Bedfordshire Council, the East of England Ambulance Service and the Highways Agency.

Eighteen lorries were pulled over and 12 were searched over the course of the day.

The National Crime Agency and Bedfordshire Police officers also engaged with the public throughout the operation.

Chief Inspector Ian Taylor, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “The recent tragic events in Essex highlight the callous nature of human trafficking and how important it is for different agencies to come together and tackle this problem.

Officers inspect the vehicle

Officers inspect the vehicle

“Toddington is often the first stop for many lorries coming into the country and we have received a number of reports of incidents at this location.

“We will continue to run these proactive and targeted operations to ensure we protect some incredibly vulnerable people, as well as deterring the organised crime gangs responsible for this trafficking.”

Anyone with any information about potential human trafficking is asked to contact police on 101 or visit bedfordshire.police.uk/report.

You can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline in confidence on 08000 121 700.