Modern slavery arrests in West Sussex
4th April 2023
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of exploiting Bulgarian farm workers in the south of England.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and Sussex Police carried out raids at two addresses in the Bognor Regis area of West Sussex on the morning of Tuesday April 4.
GLAA investigators arrested two men, both Bulgarian nationals aged 33, on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The suspects have been released under investigation pending further enquiries after being questioned by the GLAA and police.
Searches of the addresses have also taken place throughout the morning.
GLAA Investigating Officer Paul Williams said: “We received intelligence indicating that the suspects were exploiting and controlling Bulgarian workers arriving in the UK by charging them for transport and to complete their UK settlement applications.
“Allegations were also made that the pair subjected workers to threats if they did not pay them.
“We will not hesitate to act where we have information that vulnerable workers are potentially being exploited for their labour. Our investigations are ongoing and further updates will be provided where appropriate.”
Detective Superintendent Stuart Hale said: “Sussex Police’s support of the GLAA in this operation should send a clear message that modern slavery and exploitation will not be tolerated in the county.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to share intelligence, safeguard vulnerable people and bring those who would cause them harm to justice.”
Anyone with information about workers being exploited for their labour can contact the GLAA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the online reporting form.
Alternatively, call the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
You can also report concerns to Sussex Police on 101.