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Police: 3 freed, 2 arrested in UK slavery bust

By CNN Staff
updated 11:40 AM EST, Sun December 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police: Two people are arrested in connection with slavery offenses
  • Three men are freed and taken to a safe place
  • The operation aims to crack down on forced labor and human trafficking

(CNN) -- British police freed three men Sunday and arrested two people as part of a human trafficking bust, authorities announced.

The rescues came in a series of raids that involved "three travelers sites, a business unit and a house in South Gloucestershire and a residential property in Bristol," police said in a statement.

The three men who were freed included one in his 30s, one in his 40s and one in his 50s.

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Authorities didn't provide details about their conditions, but said they were taken to a safe place and given help.

Five other people were arrested on suspicion of failure to appear, cannabis production, money laundering and handling stolen goods, Avon and Somerset Police said in the statement.

Investigators found a large stash of cash in one of the locations they raided, police said.

The raids were part of Operation Wanderer, which police described as "an investigation into forced labor and human trafficking."

"To the outside world, the fear and intimidation faced by victims of forced labor on a daily basis are difficult to comprehend," Chief Superintendent Julian Moss said. "Today's operation is a very visible statement of our intent to protect people from this type of exploitation."

Sunday's arrests came several weeks after British police arrested a couple on suspicion of holding three women captive for more than 30 years.

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