A 20-YEAR-OLD man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after four raids in Trafford and Oldham as part of a crackdown against child criminal exploitation.

He was also arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and has been released on bail.

A 23-year-old man, a 29-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman were taken into custody on suspicion of committing drugs offences and remain under investigation

A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the possession of class B drugs and has been released under investigation.

The operation was part of a nationwide week of action, that run from October 11 to 17, which Greater Manchester Police (GMP) took part in to tackle child criminal exploitation.

The work is tackling offenders who attempt to draw young and vulnerable victims into criminality.

A range of other tactics were used throughout the week which led to a further three arrests carried out by North Wales Police, in support of an ongoing investigation led by GMP.

The probe also led to the seizure of two Rolex watches, valued at £15,000 each, £5,000 in cash and class B drugs.

Officers have carried out a range of community engagement activities to help educate communities and their partners in how to spot the signs of exploitation, and how they can play their part in helping safeguard those who may be at risk.

This work included visits to train stations, fast food venues, youth clubs, care homes and students.

A key sentencing also took place throughout the week of action, which saw five members of a serious and organised crime group that trafficked class A drugs between Greater Manchester and North Yorkshire have been jailed for a total of 25 years.

Inspector Jack Murphy from the Serious and Organised Crime division at GMP said: “We remain committed to tackling organised crime here in Greater Manchester, and I hope the results from this week send a strong message to those exploiting the most vulnerable members of our society to further their own criminal business.

“I also hope the community engagement work that has gone on across the week helps further protect and safeguard young and vulnerable people who are used to transport drugs and forced into other illegal activity – this is child abuse, and I want to make that message clear.

“A lot of planning and hard work goes into these weeks, and I am proud to see collectively across all districts there has been some great results. I have no doubt the activity will be disruptive to criminal networks, operating both within Greater Manchester and beyond, and our work to tackle those responsible and protect those being exploited will not stop here.

“I would also like to reiterate that support is available to anyone who feels threatened, knows they are being exploited, or has concerns about the way they are being treated.

"I encourage members of the public to make themselves aware of the signs of child criminal exploitation. We rely on intel being submitted to help us drive our operations forwards, so it really is imperative that no matter how big or small, anyone with concerns should come forwards.

"You could be the difference for a victim, and we all have a responsibility to protect young and vulnerable members of our communities, so it is important we all know what to look out for."

Signs of criminal exploitation and county lines include:

Unexplained gifts and cash

Drug paraphernalia

More than one phone (often known as a graft phone)

Lots of travel tickets such as bus and train tickets

New friendship groups

Increased missing from home episodes

Secretive or withdrawn from family and/or friends

Lying- unable to retell a story without confusion or holes in the story

Receiving excessive calls or messages from ‘new friends’

Getting picked up or dropped off by unknown persons

If you have any concerns, visit GMP's website to access the LiveChat or online reporting facility, or by dialling 101. Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/