Birmingham suspected brothels raided by police
Police say they have rescued five women believed to be sex trafficking victims after raiding nine suspected brothels in Birmingham.
Two women and three men were arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel following the raids on Monday.
About 40 West Midlands Police officers took part in the raids in Bordesley Green, Hay Mills, Acocks Green, Sheldon, Alum Rock and Moseley.
Police also seized mobile phones, cash and items relating to prostitution.
The force said it was questioning two men and two women from Romania and a man from Germany.
The five rescued women were all offered counselling, help and support which they declined, it said.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: "The problem is that these people don't see themselves as victims, they see the traffickers as people who are trying to help them, and they often don't want to talk to us.
"If they don't disclose any offences to us we can't do anymore except signpost them to other agencies to get help, which we did in this case."
'Modern day slavery'
Three of the buildings raided in the operation were found to be vacant, but evidence at the scene suggested they had also been used as brothels, police said.
Det Supt Tim Bacon said: "It's hard to believe that modern day slavery is happening in the West Midlands, but sadly it's on the increase and we're determined to put a stop to it.
"Tonight's action, first and foremost, is about protecting people who more often than not don't even realise that they are victims.
"But we're also sending out a strong message to the traffickers that they're not going to get away with using our area as a place to commit this appalling abuse."
West Midlands Police said the raids were carried out following intelligence gathered from local people.
Det Insp Darren Haynes, who co-orientated the operation, said: "We built up a really good picture of what was going on thanks to information that was coming in from concerned residents and other agencies.
"It's often an unseen, unreported crime, which is why information from the community, no matter how small, can be crucial."