The UK Border Agency swooped on Surrey Street market today and arrested three people on suspicion of human trafficking.
Two Hungarian men and one British woman were arrested on suspicion of trafficking at locations in Croydon.
The investigation, codenamed Operation Amber, is being led by the UK Border Agency’s South East Criminal and Financial Investigation team. Today’s arrests also involved officers from Sussex and Metropolitan police forces, as well as the UK Human Trafficking Centre.
Assistant director Rob Allen, from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team, said: “We believe we have disrupted a significant organised crime group suspected of being involved in the trafficking of young women into the UK from Hungary.
“We have made three arrests, and our investigation will continue with evidence we have seized today.
“Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime where people are traded as commodities. We are determined to do our part to stop those behind it.”
A spokesman for Croydon Community Against Trafficking said the arrests showed human trafficking is still a significant issue in Croydon.
He said: “Yet again this is evidence that human trafficking is still an issue in the Croydon community and it is one we need to remain constantly vigilant against.
“It cannot be tolerated and it needs a community response as well as one from the authorities.
“Human trafficking only prospers where there is a demand. It is important that we are aware of the issue but also tackling the demand side of trafficking is very important.
“We do not want to be a place where human trafficking grows and prospers in Croydon. We do not want it to become a profitable business.”
He added: “We have the utmost concern for those who are the victims of such an heinous crime.”