FIVE people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after suspected brothels were raided.

Essex Police executed warrants at several properties across Essex on Wednesday believed to be house of ill-repute.

The police attended addresses in Southend, Brentwood, Basildon, Colchester and London during the night. Police would not reveal any road names.

The arrests included a 39-year-old woman, from Southend, and a 53-year-old woman, from Basildon, a 30-year-old man and 34-year-old woman, both from Poplar, East London, and a 47-year-old man from Finsbury Park.

They remain in custody for questioning.

In addition to arrests being made, three women were safeguarded. Susan Bones, 44, of Southend, said: “Amazing to think this kind of crime can be happening just around the way from you without anyone realising. It’s disgusting. The police have done a good job.”

Tamara Barnett, head of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said: “While we cannot comment on this case, it is important that tackling human trafficking remains high on the police agenda.

“Potential victims must remain at the centre of any response - raids on brothels risk being a ‘blunt tool’ that can lead to victims disappearing into the ether or even being arrested on immigration, drug or other charges.

“We hope the police in this case have a victim-centred approach that provides holistic assistance that recognises their needs and ensures that anyone affected in this case is connected with the right agencies for support, including legal advice and advocacy services where needed.”

Det Con Nicola Fry, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “We have a specialist team of officers who work to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking, and work hard to bring offenders to justice and safeguard vulnerable victims.

“If you have any information about these offences taking place in your area, please call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. “

For more information about how to spot the signs of trafficking and modern slavery, visit and Unseen at