Foreign criminals involved in modern slavery and human trafficking have faced a significant crackdown in the North East.

Operation Kestrel targeted raids occurred in July, with the Cleveland, Northumbria and Durham police forces, working alongside Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the North East Regional Serious and Organised Crime Unit to carry out the raids. The operation was the biggest of its kind ever seen in the region.

Modern slavery crackdown

The multi-agency operation targeted criminals with involvement in minor offences all the way through to serious and/ or organised crime; this was to provide a clear message to communities and to offenders that crime at any level will not be tolerated.

Speaking with regards to the operation Helen McMillan, Northumbria Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, said: “The majority of people who come from abroad to live in the UK are honest, law abiding citizens and we welcome the diversity and value that brings to our communities. Unfortunately, there will always be a minority who choose to be unlawful whether that be for financial gain or simple disregard for the law.”

The operation also focused on UK citizens and foreign nationals who have fallen victim to modern slavery and human trafficking by these criminals. Forces will be targeting the very small minority who are breaking the laws that are in place to protect both UK citizens and foreign nationals.

Immigration Enforcement have been highly trained to identify victims of trafficking and modern slavery and to ensure they receive the support necessary. The British Red Cross has also supported the operation and has been providing emotional and practical support to victims.

Ensuring your organisation is aware of modern slavery laws and regulations, as well as having a thorough understanding of what to do in cases of suspected modern slavery is essential. Take a look at our Modern Slavery training courses which can provide huge benefits to organisations implementing modern slavery procedures.


Cleveland Police