After an extensive County Lines investigation, the British Transport Police have filed Modern Slavery charges against three boys and one man.
In June and August of 2022, authorities apprehended a 16-year-old boy from Warrington, two 17-year-old boys from North London and Southend, and 21-year-old Declan Sherriff from Twickenham.
They were arrested on charges related to drug supply and modern-day slavery and subsequently received their charges on September 20th.
In June last year, two teenagers aged 13 and 14 were found at Brighton Railway Station trying to return to London without tickets. They had been reported as missing and were believed to have been exploited by County Lines gangs.
A complex investigation, concerning a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and the human trafficking of children, via a County Line from London into Brighton resulted and just nine days after the teenagers were found, arrest warrants were successfully executed.
Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams head of the County Lines Taskforce said “Achieving 16 Modern Day Slavery charges through a single investigation represents outstanding work by my officers. These charges have almost doubled the number we had achieved since the Taskforce was established in 2019, bringing our total to an impressive 38 modern slavery charges connected to illegal drug supply.
“Successfully securing criminal charges for such serious offences, is down the dedication of my officers and their tenacity in seeking justice for the two exploited teenagers that we found in Brighton last year.
“Ensuring those involved received critical safeguarding interventions and support, my team demonstrated that it is dedicated to identifying vulnerability and ensuring the safety of all, across the rail network.
“These charges are a significant step towards disrupting County Lines activity and demonstrating that the railway network will always be a hostile environment for drug suppliers to operate in.”