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Police step up operation to tackle 2012 Olympics prostitutes

PUBLISHED: 15:24 20 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:35 05 October 2010

A TEAM of police officers is moving into the five East London Olympic boroughs to tackle the expected surge in sex trafficking in the run-up to the 2012 Games. Scotland Yard’s crime and vice unit has formed a specialist squad to rescue women who have been sold’ into prostitution

By Mike Brooke

A TEAM of police officers is moving into the five East London Olympic boroughs to tackle the expected surge in sex trafficking in the run-up to the 2012 Games.

Scotland Yard’s crime and vice unit has formed a specialist squad working over the next three years to rescue young women who have been sold’ into prostitution.

Police believe there will be a huge surge in the numbers of young women trafficked’ into East London from Eastern Europe and Asia to make money out of millions of visitors in 2012.

TRAFFICKED WOMEN

They have noticed a small increase in women being trafficked into the areas to work in brothels. “Our priority is making sure the victims are rescued and cared for,” said Det Chief Supt Richard Martin.

“We don’t wait for victims to come forward. We are proactive and virtually 100 per cent of our cases are from intelligence we’ve gathered.”

It follows research into the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when 10,000 prostitutes were operating in the city. The Athens authorities in 2004 identified a 95 per cent rise in human trafficking victims.

UNDERCOVER

Undercover officers have been gathering intelligence in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Greenwich for 12 months as construction gets under way on the Olympic site.

Around 100,000 people will be working on the Games in 2012, including 10,500 athletes and 20,000 press and media, in addition to nine million spectators.

Lynne Abrams, who wrote the report for the Met Police on the rise in trafficking, said: “Evidence from previous Olympics suggests such a population increase may have an impact on women's safety. It leads to an increase in prostitution and trafficking.”

Officers are working in countries where women are being trafficked, raising awareness of the dangers of being offered trips to Britain, then being tricked into prostitution.


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