Businesses visited during modern slavery operation
14th March 2018
Car washes, nail bars and fast food restaurants were just some of the places visited during a four-day operation to tackle modern slavery.
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) worked with a range of partners in East and West Cornwall to prevent and identify exploitation of vulnerable workers.
Between Tuesday and Friday last week (6 - 9 March), unannounced visits were made to a number of business, including:
• Eight car washes, where concerns included the non-payment of the minimum wage to workers; not having personal protective clothing and other health and safety concerns. Two people were found to not have rights to work in the UK;
• Four nail bars, with one worker found to not have the correct status to live in the UK;
• A farm was revisited after a visit carried out in 2017 uncovered sub-standard accommodation for workers. The revisit revealed that the landlord has taken the necessary steps to improve the accommodation;
• A house in multiple occupation (HMO) in which workers are accommodated. Concerns had been raised about fire safety. The fire service and Cornwall Housing have been made aware of the issues;
• A string of takeaway restaurants in Newquay and Falmouth
• A site accommodating Romanian and Bulgarian families, visited due to concern raised about the railway embankment running next to the site, which Network Rail deemed to be safe
The visits were part of an annual operation organised by the Cornwall Migrant Workers Action Group (MIGWAG), of which the GLAA is a member.
The operation sought to prevent the exploitation of workers, as well as uncover modern slavery, human trafficking and health and safety offences.
A range of agencies were involved, including Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, the Health and Safety Executive and UK Immigration Compliance and Enforcement, HM Revenue and Customs, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and Network Rail.
Investigating Officer Martin Jones, who led the operation for the GLAA, said: “Operations like this are crucial if we are to uncover the exploitation and abuse of workers happening throughout the UK right now. And we can’t do this alone; the GLAA works side by side with partners in all fields, who share our commitment and dedication in preventing and identifying modern slavery and exploitation.
“I was pleased to see that, at one particular site where issues were uncovered last year, measures had been taken to improve conditions for workers. Only by maintaining pressure on businesses to be aware of their obligations to treat workers fairly can we put an end to slavery for good.”
Do you want to learn how to spot the signs of labour exploitation and modern slavery? Read our useful advice guide here: http://bit.ly/GLAASigns