FOUR people have been charged as part of a joint operation to tackle human trafficking across Scotland.

Led by detectives from Edinburgh's Public Protection Unit, Operation Risbalit saw enforcement activity take place at six premises in Alloa, Inverkeithing, Cowdenbeath and Glasgow.

As a result, three men aged 41, 24 and 23 were arrested and charged along with a 25-year-old woman.

All were scheduled to appear at Falkirk and Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court today (Wednesday, 5 February), in connection with human trafficking offences.

Officers and colleagues from the East Organised Crime and Counter-Terrorism Unit and Financial Investigation Unit, as well as key partners from Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI); Edinburgh Social Work; National Human Trafficking Unit; National Crime Agency; BTP; Scotrail; Network Rail and COPFS played vital roles in evidence gathering and resourcing the enforcement process.

In addition to the targeted arrests, visits were carried out at businesses in Bathgate, Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh and Stirling.

These were led by Immigration Enforcement and supported by officers from Police Scotland.

DI Keith Fairbairn, from Edinburgh's Public Protection Unit, said: "Extensive inquiries were undertaken by Police Scotland and supported by a number of other agencies and this culminated in the arrest of four people, who have been reported to the procurator fiscal.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the officers and partners involved in this operation for their support and dedication throughout.

"Identifying human trafficking and supporting victims of such offences is a top priority for Police Scotland. Operation Risbalit is an Edinburgh-led inquiry, but our officers will continue to liaise with key counterparts both nationally within Scotland and the UK.

"I want the public to be assured that any report of human trafficking will be treated with the utmost seriousness and investigated thoroughly to bring perpetrators to justice.

"If you have any concerns that someone in your community may have been trafficked, or if you are a victim of this crime and wish to report it to police, please contact us via 101 or make an anonymous report to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."