The UK Border Agency immigration crime team arrested six people - four Armenians and two Latvians - on suspicion of people trafficking at North Shields ferry terminal last week. Agency staff at the port identified a 15-year-old Armenian girl, who had arrived on a ferry from Holland, attempting to enter the UK using a Latvian passport.
Two Armenian men, aged 49 and 25, and two Latvian women, aged 33 and 26, accompanied the girl. The four adults said they were bound for Manchester. Following further investigation, the UK Border Agency immigration crime team arrested two other Armenian men, aged 30 and 19, both from the Manchester area, on suspicion of people trafficking.
All of the arrested parties have been released on bail. The girl remains in the care of the local authority.
Detective Inspector Graham Brown, who works for the UK Border Agency immigration crime team in the North East of England, said:
"The safety and well being of the young girl is of paramount importance to all the agencies involved in this investigation.
"Trafficking and facilitation are serious offences which often involve young and vulnerable members from the international community. The UK Border Agency, working with the North East police forces, now has a formidable team to investigate and detect such criminality."
Any members of the community who suspect illegal immigration activity should report their suspicions to the UK Border Agency and their local police force.