Officers carry out raids as part of an investigation into the exploitation of eastern European workers

Thirteen people have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery in Birmingham, West Midlands Police have said.

Officers carried out raids in Handsworth as part of an investigation into the exploitation of eastern European workers.

Nine men and four women, aged between 18 and 60 and all Polish nationals, have been taken into custody for questioning.

Sgt Phil Poole, from the force’s modern slavery investigation team, said: “These raids were carried out as a result of intelligence and illustrates our intent to stop cruel individuals making cash off the misery of others.

“There is no place for the exploitation of people and we will not hesitate in taking firm and decisive action to stop this.”

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) senior investigating officer Andy Davies said: “This was a well-planned and hugely successful operation and we were proud to assist West Midlands Police with the preparatory work, the arrests and in supporting the alleged victims.

“Early indications suggest that a legitimate employment agency may have been infiltrated by an organised criminal gang.

“I would urge all labour providers – with or without GLAA Licences – to remain vigilant about their supply chains and recruitment practices so they too do not get caught out.”

Five people, three men and two women, have been safeguarded from Poland and taken to a reception centre.

They will have the option of supporting a criminal complaint and will then be referred through the national referral mechanism.