The squalid conditions where three Vietnamese children were forced to live. — Photo courtesy of Greater Manchester Police
ROCHDALE — These are the squalid conditions three Vietnamese children were living in – prisoners in a cannabis farm in the UK.
Police on Monday in the town of Rochdale in the north of England, raided a property and discovered more than US$1 million of cannabis plants being grown.
Three children aged between 15 and 17 who had been trafficked from Việt Nam were kept in the house to look after the illegal crop.
“They were found to be living in squalid conditions, with just three mattresses on the floor for them to sleep on,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.
“The children had been living at the cannabis farm for a number of months and it is believed that measures were put in place by those exploiting the children to ensure they were unable to leave the premises in case they raised any suspicions.”
The children are currently being supported by specially-trained officers from GMP’S Child Criminal Exploitation team, as well as being helped by Children’s Social Care in Rochdale.
The illegal cannabis farm discovered by police in the north of England. — Photo courtesy of Greater Manchester Police
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing to identify those responsible for producing the cannabis farm and exploiting the three children.
Challenger and Vulnerability Officer Philip Key, from GMP’s Rochdale district, said: “Tackling the exploitation of children is a priority for the police and we will do everything within our power to find those responsible and bring them into custody.
“Abusing vulnerable children for criminal gains is disgusting and our team is committed to dealing with this type of crime in all of its forms and making Rochdale – as well as Greater Manchester – a safer place.
“I want to ask that anybody with any information about this cannabis farm, or anybody who may be connected to it, to please contact us at the very earliest opportunity.”
Earlier this year, officials from Việt Nam and the UK signed a number of Memorandums of Understanding to increase efforts to fight child exploitation and the trafficking of vulnerable youngsters by criminal gangs. — VNS
Police hunting the gang who were responsible for trafficking children from Việt Nam to look after cannabis plants with a street value of more than US$1 million. — Photo courtesy of Greater Manchester Police