Operation targets modern slavery in Wiltshire
16th May 2018
Officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) were joined by Wiltshire Police and other partners in visiting several addresses in Salisbury to check on the welfare of employees who were potential victims of labour exploitation.
A total of 26 people were identified as potential victims of modern slavery as part of the operation on Tuesday 15 May. Overall, seven addresses were visited, one of which included a business. All those identified have been interviewed and their welfare assessed, with everyone declared safe and well.
No arrests were made, but work continues with the Romanian community in the county to establish and strengthen strong community links.
GLAA Director of Operations Ian Waterfield said: "This latest enforcement action by ourselves and Wiltshire Police saw us act on intelligence about possible exploitation of Romanian workers in the Salisbury area.
"The operation demonstrates our commitment to target those people who believe they can prey on the desperation of vulnerable workers, many of whom may not be able to speak English, for their own ends.
"We will not stop in our efforts to stamp out labour abuse but we need your help. If you suspect something, please don't hesitate to pick up the phone and speak to our intelligence team on 0115 9597052. One call to us can change people's lives forever and bring offenders to justice."
Detective Superintendent Jeremy Carter of Wiltshire Police said: "We are fully committed to tackling modern slavery and protecting the most vulnerable people in society. Following comprehensive intelligence, there was an indication that some addresses were linked to labour exploitation.
"It can be forgiven to think that because Wiltshire is one of the safest places to live and work in the country that these types of issues don't happen. Sadly, this is not the case and it is important that we educate our communities to spot the signs so they can help us stop modern slavery.
"This ever-changing crime requires us to work proactively by building up an intelligence picture of the situation and deploying our resources accordingly. This specific operation was led by the GLAA and supported by the police, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Local Housing and the Illegal Money Lending Team.
"Whilst carrying out this operation, 26 potential victims of exploitation have been identified. However, there was no need to take any further action to secure their wellbeing.
"I would urge the public to be aware of the potential signs of exploitation and use that information to not only report their concerns, but also to think of the human cost of the services they use so that informed decisions can be made.”
Victims of modern slavery and exploitation aren't always immediately obvious to spot, but there are some signs to look out for:
- Working long hours
- Substance addiction
- Chaperoned everywhere
- Lack of possessions
- Language barriers
- Passport held by someone else
- Lack of personal protective equipment
- Lack of access to medical care, or strange injuries
- Money deducted from salary
- No keys. Can't come and go as they please
- Psychological trauma
- Sporadic school attendance
- Money withheld
- Ritual abuse/witchcraft
If you have concerns about labour exploitation, speak to the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 432 0804 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.