A MASSIVE police operation following accusations of modern slavery has seen three people arrested and eight suspected victims taken into police protection.

The operation involving 100 officers climaxed with a raid on a property in Love Lane, Iver early this morning, following accusations made about forced labour being used on building sites.

Thames Valley Police led the operation supported by a number of partner agencies including the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

Detective Inspector James Mather, leading the operation, said: “This operation has safeguarded vulnerable people in society and a number of arrests have been made. Modern slavery is the exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Officers continue to work closely with our partner agencies to ensure those who carry out this activity are disrupted and any victims are supported.

“We are in the early stages of the investigation and considerable work to identify any further victims will follow. It has been a really positive example of partnership working and I’d like to thank all the officers and agencies involved.

“Thames Valley Police takes all reports of modern slavery extremely seriously and our Hidden Harm campaign has focussed on raising awareness of this under-reported crime happening in our communities.

“Modern slavery could be happening in your community. It is vitally important that anyone who notices any suspicious activity or is worried about someone should come forward and report concerns as victims may not always recognise themselves as victims.

“The signs of modern slavery aren’t always obvious but there are some that you may notice. These include people being withdrawn, unable to make eye contact, or being reluctant to talk to strangers. Their appearance may be unkempt, they may be malnourished, or showing signs of physical or psychological injury.

“They may also have inappropriate clothing or equipment for their job, be working long hours for little or no pay. Their accommodation may be overcrowded and poorly maintained. They may lack some basic freedoms, such as not having access to their identity or travel documents, and have their movements restricted.

“Keeping people safe from harm is all of our responsibility. To make a report please call Thames Valley Police’s non-emergency number, 101.If you have any concerns about modern slavery – whether you need to get help, report a suspicion or seek advice – please call the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700.”