Police have raided seven properties across London and Hertfordshire as part of an investigation into sexual exploitation and modern slavery, making eight arrests.

A property in Bexleyheath was among those hit by Met Police officers, and the police force believes some of the addresses entered were operating as brothels.

Seven different warrants at addresses across the capital were executed on Tuesday, March 16 as part of 'Operation Snoop'.

Warrants resulted in eight arrests, six males and two females, with the arrests made on suspicion of crimes including controlling prostitution for gain, and arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation.

The operation was led by the Met's Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation Unit who are investigating the trafficking of Chinese woman into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Met Police

Met Police

The warrants were executed in Bexleyheath, Hackney, Hounslow, Watford and Kingston, and follow a year-long investigation into a network of criminals in the area.

Met Police said its officers entered the addresses accompanied by officers from the MSCE, interpreters and Mandarin speaking officers.

It is believed that some of the addresses targeted were operating as brothels, and vulnerable people located in the raids are now receiving support from specialist officers.

Police will now work to seize evidence to support offences of human trafficking and controlling prostitution, including proceeds of crime, mobile phones, computers, travel documents, criminal assets, cash, passports, ledgers, and any material linked to sex adverts.

Acting Detective Inspector Nick Bland of the Central Specialist Crime Unit said: “This morning’s operation, despite being the culmination of a lengthy investigation, is only the first step in bringing the people arrested to face the consequences for their actions.

“Young women who are trafficked in to this country for sexual exploitation are often sold a dream in terms of what their life in the UK may look like, that dream is quickly unraveled upon their arrival to the country, where they will often be forced to live in abject poverty and be at the beck and call of their traffickers.

"In some cases it is impossible for these women to escape to their home countries as their travel documents are confiscated."

“We know that crimes such as these are amongst some the most damaging to victims. They will no doubt have suffered untold pain and distress during their time in this country under the influence of these individuals."

DI Bland continued: “My officers will now commence the seizure and examination of evidence from the properties in order build a case against these individuals for submission to the Criminal Prosecution Service.

"The Met continues to make every effort to reduce high impact crime such as this and the fear of it, and the warrant executed this morning has no doubt contributed to this mission.”