AN EVESHAM man has been arrested as part of an investigation into human trafficking.

A 24-year-old from St Margaret's Road, Evesham was arrested after a series of early-morning raids across the country by police.

A total of eight women were found inside addresses across the country and were suspected of being trafficked to the UK from Romania for the purposes of prostitution.

The detainees are being questioned by detectives from Op Proteus, Lancashire Police's human trafficking and modern slavery team.

Detective Inspector Mark Vaughton, of Op Proteus, said: "Today's arrests are the latest stage of a long-running proactive investigation by Lancashire Constabulary into the activities of a Romanian organised crime group which we believe has been trafficking women into the country for the purposes of prostitution.

"I'd like to thank our colleagues in the other force areas and at the National Crime Agency for the assistance in co-ordinating and carrying out today's activity.

"While this is just the latest phase of this operation, today's activities has seen both a number of people arrested and a number of women rescued from exploitation.

"Modern slavery is not something confined to history, it is still happening today, and it's happening in Lancashire.

"We would urge you to look closer, modern slavery could be happening right in front of you, whether that's in nail bars, car washes, rural businesses, brothels, massage parlours, or a property in your neighbourhood."

Police arrested seven men and one woman on suspicion of conspiring to traffic for sexual exploitation and conspiring to incite prostitution as part of the investigation in Evesham, Blackburn, Preston, Blackpool and Gateshead.