Seven potential victims of human trafficking were safeguarded after they were found during an operation across north west London.

An investigation began into the welfare of five adults and two children after concerns were raised about some of the potential victims employed in various barber shops.

The group of people were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in the operation on February 12, which developed over four months.

The operation involved more than 100 people, including 70 officers from the MPS, immigration services, Harrow, Brent and Barnet council, social services, the NHS and a range of charities dedicated to help such victims.

Specially trained officers escorted the potential victims to a nearby reception centre where they received medical treatment and support.

No arrests were made.

Councillor Daniel Thomas, leader of Barnet Council, said: “I am very glad that we were able to provide support to the Met police’s operation which identified a number of people who were potentially the victims of human trafficking.

“We will continue to work very closely with the police to ensure we do all we can to assist them in their efforts to tackle the issue of exploitation.”

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers, from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime, said: “I am pleased with the results of this multi-agency operation which was launched to safeguard vulnerable individuals, identify perpetrators of crime and ultimately protect the public.

“Human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual exploitation often occur in plain sight, and it is often the case those carrying out these offences exploit those from less fortunate backgrounds who have travelled to our county for a better life. They prey on the knowledge these individuals will carry out hard, labour-intensive work to provide for themselves.

“The Met is entirely committed to tackling these crimes and protecting the most vulnerable of people in our communities. We will continue to work closely with our partners as we have on this particular operation, to target those involved in this criminality and prevent them from exploiting innocent individuals any further.

“I hope this operation continues to raise the public’s awareness of these shocking crimes, and sends a clear message to those involved that we will work with all agencies and law enforcement to identify and bring them to justice.”