A WOMAN has been arrested for controlling prostitution as part of a human trafficking probe in Essex.

Detectives from Essex Police's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit arrested one woman last night following investigations into suspected brothels across the county.

A 49-year-old woman from Brentwood was arrested in a building on the High Street on suspicion of controlling prostitution for gain and she remains in custody for questioning.


A second woman at the address was detained for immigration offences.

A warrant was also carried out in St Peter’s Street in Colchester, where a woman was given safety advice by our officers. No arrests were made at this address.

The arrests were the latest in an ongoing operation by the MSHT Unit and partner agencies, focusing on reports of young women being trafficked into the country and forced to work as prostitutes.

Police were supported by a Victim Navigator from the international charity Justice and Care. The Navigator, who accompanies police in all modern slavery work, ensures that all victims of these offences are supported throughout their experience.

They will assist in guiding victims through the criminal justice process and aid them in adjusting to life outside servitude.

DC Nicola Fry, who co-ordinated last night's activity, said: "The warrant – and the warrants that this team has carried out since its inception earlier this year – show the dedication and determination of our unit to stop the exploitation of vulnerable people.

"This intense investigation has seen us support victims who have alleged these crimes against them and arrests across the county and beyond.

"We won’t stop in our mission to protect those who are at risk of this kind, or any kind of exploitation.

"We would encourage anyone with information about human trafficking or modern slavery offences to call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also speak to Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111."

Others previously arrested in connection with the investigation - 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 from Poplar and a 47-year-old man from Finsbury Park – have been released on bail until Monday January 2.

A 48-year-old woman from Bromley, who was arrested on Monday 5 August, will face no further action.

A 67-year-old man from Herne Bay in Kent, arrested on the same day, has been released under investigation as our enquiries continue.