Two restaurants have been raided as part of an investigation into human slavery.

Ezy Noodle Bar, in Cranbourne Street, Brighton, and Thai Elephant Two, in South Coast Road, Peacehaven, were raided by police and Home Office immigration officers on Wednesday.

A Chinese man, 25, understood to be a failed asylum seeker, was arrested and has been detained pending removal from the UK.

The raids, codenamed Operation Ballot, aim to tackle the “horrendous crime” of forced labour.


Police used intelligence from an earlier raid on China China restaurant, in Preston Street, Brighton, on October 18, when ten men were detained for immigration offences. A 50-year-old Chinese woman was rescued from there and taken to a safe place.

A man, 40, was arrested on suspicion of holding a person in slavery and servitude and is on police bail until January 27, 2014.

As part of the coordinated activities on Wednesday two men aged 49 and 59 were arrested in Cheam, Surrey, on suspicion of slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour offences under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Betts said: “Human trafficking and forced labour are horrendous crimes. People are treated as commodities and often live miserable lives.

“Part of our activity on Anti- Slavery Day was aimed at raising awareness and checking on potentially vulnerable parts of our community.

We were able to take one woman away from her poor work and living conditions and give her an opportunity to live a better life.

“These further arrests and search warrants last night show our commitment to exposing these potential crimes going on in our communities.”

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, who observed the raids, said: “I expect many residents will be shocked to hear appalling crimes of this type can take place in Sussex.

“The signs of human trafficking and forced labour exploitation are not always easy to identify and I am pleased that Sussex Police is proactively raising awareness of the issue and seeking out those who may be vulnerable.

“We all have a part to play in recognising those people in our communities who may be at risk or have fallen victim to exploitation and to report it.”