A new short documentary series will be released today to offer an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of Derbyshire’s biggest ever human trafficking probe to mark Anti-Slavery Day 2019.
Featuring never-before-seen footage, Catching a Criminal Series Two tells an extremely complex story in nine chapters.
It follows Operation Doubrava, one of the UK’s largest trafficking cases to date, from small beginnings to its conclusion on the steps of court.
The case, sparked by a single 999 call about an assault, led to 29 victims being safeguarded, 11 members of a criminal enterprise on trial, and a family of exploiters jailed.
It saw a group of Derbyshire detectives teaming up for the first time in history with their counterparts in the Latvian State Police, to track down the ringleaders of an exploitation ring and bring their enterprise crashing down.
It is a vitally important story to tell, showing how modern slavery and exploitation is still very much alive today, and how we are working together to try and tackle it.
Detective Inspector Carl Chetwyn leads our dedicated Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, which was created on the back of Operation Doubrava’s success.
He said: “This was an extremely complex case and it is one that transformed the way we deal with modern slavery, human trafficking and labour exploitation.
“It started with a phone call about a seemingly unrelated incident but unravelled into a huge, international operation with dozens of vulnerable victims who were being exploited, right here, in our community.
“The scale of the exploitation was staggering and we had to completely change the way we went about investigating it, joining up with the Latvian State Police to try and bring the group down.
“Catching a Criminal shows a snapshot of our work and highlights the shocking fact that there are still people out there, among our communities, who will exploit other human beings and treat them as commodities for their own gain.
“There has never been a more important time to tell this story than on Anti-Slavery Day and I hope people will watch the series to see how it all unfolded and to understand the depths that those involved in exploitation and trafficking will go to.”
Produced by Derbyshire police’s media team Catching a Criminal features candid interviews with those at the heart of the operation, never-before-seen investigation footage of the offenders and their victims, body worn video and exclusive case file images, to tell the story from start to finish.
We also want it to raise awareness of the signs of modern slavery, so members of the public can join us in eradicating the offence in our communities.
DI Chetwyn said: “The victims in this case were all extremely vulnerable and they were kept deliberately dependent by their exploiters.
“They lived in squalid, cramped conditions, sleeping in bedbug-ridden mattresses on the floor with multiple people in a room, and they were made to work for 12 hours a day with little to no pay.
“Some of the victims earned thousands but were paid just a small amount of it. The rest was kept by the offenders, who lived a comparatively lavish lifestyle.
“There is just no place for that in our society at all, and I know right-thinking members of the public agree with that.
“Anti-Slavery Day is all about us raising awareness and reaffirming our pledge to tackle it, and that is something Derbyshire police and our partner agencies are committed to doing.”
To find out more about the telltale signs of modern slavery and exploitation, visit www.derbyshire.police.uk.
You can also find a wealth of information, support and advice for victims at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org.uk.
To make a report or to contact DI Chetwyn’s team please use one of the following contact methods.
Facebook – send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter – direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact
Website – complete the online contact form www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
Phone – call us on 101.
You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Please note in the event of an emergency you should always call 999.