Seventeen arrests have been made following a series of early morning east London raids targeting a suspected international human trafficking ring.

Warrants were executed in the early hours of Thursday, November 14, by Met Police officers with the support of Romanian police officers.

Sixteen warrants were executed at addresses in Redbridge, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Brentwood and Tower Hamlets.

Seventeen people were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery, controlling prostitution, Class A drug offences and firearm offences.

Detective chief inspector Richard McDonagh, from Specialist Crime - Vulnerability Investigations, said: “The Met recognises the seriousness of modern slavery and the devastation it brings to people’s lives.

“Today’s synchronised operational activity spanned 16 addresses in east London and four addresses in Romania with the aim of, in one fell swoop, dismantling an organised crime network and providing support to the victims.”

All 17 suspects have been taken to a central London police station where they remain in custody.

A total of 29 potential victims of human trafficking, all women aged from 20-40 years, were recovered and taken to a place of safety, police said.

An additional four warrants were executed simultaneously in Romania resulting in the arrest of one man in Constanta.

A spokesperson for the Romanian Police attaché in the UK, said: “Today's operation is another example of our excellent bilateral cooperation. The operation was organised simultaneously in both countries in perfect coordination.

“Romanian police officers working shoulder to shoulder with our British partners is a great achievement, a proof of our mutual permanent support and a great professional reward. The Romanian Police is committed to continue its efforts in combating all forms of criminality together with the Metropolitan Police.”

The joint raids were part of an international operation called Operation Kelang.

The operation was also supported by a number of charities and organisations supporting victims of modern slavery, including the Church of England and Refuge.

The Romanian Ambassador in the UK, Dan Mihalache, today praised the joint efforts of the Metropolitan Police and the Romanian Police in combating trans-border criminality.