Surrey Police revealed today (Tuesday, March 17) they arrested seven people and helped a number of potential victims in relation to modern day slavery in the county.

In a far-reaching operation, officers from the force's Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) carried out warrants across Surrey and inspected 114 different premises.

Seven potential victims were found and seven arrests were made during the operation, police said, while nine new investigations were initiated as a result of the sweep.

Chief Inspector Alan Sproston, Force Strategic Lead on Modern Slavery, said: "We carried out a number of targeted warrants where we identified potential victims of modern slavery.

"The purpose was to safeguard adults who have been trafficked to the UK to be sexually exploited, especially where Adult Service Websites (ASWs) have been used to facilitate the exploitation.

"The manipulation of other human beings for sexual gratification and profit is inhumane and Surrey Police will do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice and safeguard victims of this sick trade."

Detective Sargent Martyn Linton led the operation in the North of the county.

He reflected on the devastating impact modern day slavery can have and urged residents to report warning signs to police:

"Modern Slavery and sexual exploitation offences take place daily and the effect it has on victims can last a lifetime.

"I have travelled to a number of different areas and have led teams executing warrants, seizing evidence and making arrests for trafficking and other serious offences. This is serious and organised crime...

"I would urge the community to report suspicious activity in their area such as high numbers of people attending an address at all hours of the day.

"These very calls have enabled me to recover a victim of trafficking and sexual exploitation who has been living in fear for a long period of time. This would not have happened had concerns not been reported.

"If you see something out of place we would encourage you to report it by contacting Surrey Police on 101 (999 in an emergency)."

Last year, modern slavery expert Jakub Sobik from Anti-Slavery International described the scale of the problem in conversation with the Comet:

He said that numbers of people forced into modern slavery in the UK was "in the tens of thousands", referencing the National Crime Agency.

"In 2013 the UK government estimated there were around 13,000 people are in modern slavery at any time.

"Poverty and discrimination are involved. For example, migrants coming to the UK and working illegally without a network of support are easy targets who can be taken advantage of.

"Especially if they know that coming forward to the authorities means they will be criminalized for working illegally and for their immigration — that plays into the hands of traffickers," he said.

"Victims are being treated as criminals way too often and not being given the support they need."