Missing girls found safe: Man is charged with slavery

TWO teenagers who went missing from York have been found.

North Yorkshire Police have confirmed that the two Vietnamese girls,
15-year-old Thi Luong Phan – who calls herself Luong – and Tram Le, 14,
are safe and well.

They went missing from the city last Sunday, triggering a police search and investigation. 

“Overnight, one girl was found at an address in the Thames Valley area
and the other was located in Bedfordshire,” said a police spokeswoman.

“Both girls are being returned to the care of local authorities.

“Our thanks go to everyone who shared our appeal and members of the public who called in with information.

“The investigation to establish the full circumstances surrounding the case continues.”

As reported, a man has appeared in court charged with modern-day
slavery offences in connection with the disappearance of the two

They  were brought into the UK illegally several months ago, and were in foster care in the York area when they disappeared.

North Yorkshire Police has been searching for the pair, who were last
seen last Sunday afternoon, and the investigation has taken officers to
the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas, and elsewhere.

Yesterday, police confirmed a man had been arrested on Tuesday and later charged with two counts of modern slavery.

He appeared before magistrates on Friday, but police said they could
not reveal where he was appearing as publication of the location may
hamper the search for the girls.

They refused to give his name, but said the 28-year-old had been remanded in custody by the court until Monday, July 17.

Chief Inspector Allan Wescott, of North Yorkshire Police, and one of
the officers leading the search, said yesterday: “As each day goes by
our concern for the two girls’ welfare grows.

“Whilst this is a positive step towards finding the two girls we are
still trying to locate their whereabouts as quickly, and as safely, as

Police said that when the girls were last seen, they voluntarily got
into a taxi close to the Minster, and speaking to local radio on Friday,
Chief Insp Wescott said officers were “working around the clock” to
find out where they were.

He said the search had “been situated outside North Yorkshire since
Monday afternoon”, with operations in “the north-west”, and “down
towards Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire”.

He told the radio station the girls would not be aware of “the UK way
of life”, and said they have “a very limited understanding of the
language”. He said: “Ultimately, we don’t want these girls to be taken
for granted. We want them back with the local authorities and being
looked after as they should be.”

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