Two "exploited" teenagers found at Brighton Station sparked a major investigation leading to a string of slavery charges.
A complex investigation which exposed a county lines drugs opertaion from London to Brighton has led to sixteen charges for three boys and one man.
The teenagers, aged 13 and 14, were found at Brighton station trying to return to London without tickets in June.
They had been reported as missing and were believed to have been exploited by county lines gangs.
Just nine days after they were found, officers started to conduct warrants across the country.
One 16-year-old boy from Warrington, 17-year-old boys from North London and Southend and 21-year-old Declan Sherriff of Varley Drive, Twickenam, were arrested for drug supply and modern day slavery offences.
They were charged on September 20.
Detective Superintendent Gareth Williams, head of the county lines taskforce said "Achieving 16 Modern Day Slavery charges through a single investigation represents outstanding work by my officers.
"These charges have almost doubled the number we had achieved since the taskforce was established in 2019, bringing our total to an impressive 38 modern slavery charges connected to illegal drug supply.
"Successfully securing criminal charges for such serious offences, is down the dedication of my officers and their tenacity in seeking justice for the two exploited teenagers that we found in Brighton last year.
"Ensuring those involved received critical safeguarding interventions and support, my team demonstrated that it is dedicated to identifying vulnerability and ensuring the safety of all, across the rail network.
"These charges are a significant step towards disrupting county lines activity and demonstrating that the railway network will always be a hostile environment for drug suppliers to operate in.”