Operation Limelight

Monday, 09 October, 2017



Officers from Kent Police have carried out an operation at Ebbsfleet International aimed at safeguarding children and vulnerable people from harmful practices and human trafficking.

On Tuesday 12 September 2017 officers from Kent Police took part in Operation Limelight, a multi-agency proactive day of action at the UK border to look for people travelling to or from the UK who may have been a victim of or are vulnerable to harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and child abuse linked to faith or belief.

Officers from both Kent Police and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), British Transport Police (BTP) and UK Border Force all took part with officers present at both the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International and at Ebbsfleet International. The operation has previously run at UK airports but this was the first time it was put in place at rail terminals.

Partner organisations including Eurostar and HS1 Ltd were also part of the initiative which saw enhanced training about FGM and other harmful practices being given to officers and staff who work at the Eurostar terminal to raise awareness of the practice and identify those affected.

During the day officers carried out preventative work with passengers on inbound trains who have travelled through Europe from countries where FGM and other harmful practices take place. Officers distributed literature to raise awareness of the issues and engaged with passengers from communities affected by these crimes as well as identify possible offences in order to take action against those responsible.

Survivors of FGM also attended the operation, to provide advice and witness first-hand how the police and Border Force officials tackle this issue.
Detective Inspector Ian Wadey from Kent Police's Public Protection Unit said: 'I'm pleased that Kent Police officers were able to be a part of this operation. Those at risk from FGM and other harmful cultural practices need to be identified and protected but there is no easy, quick solution to this.”

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