GLAA arrests fourth suspect in Oldham 'trafficking' investigation
20th December 2017
A fourth person has been arrested in connection with a Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority investigation into modern slavery offences in Oldham.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, investigators from the authority arrested three Hungarian nationals from two addresses in the Greenacres area of the town.
Enquiries continued yesterday with the GLAA assisted by Greater Manchester Police and immigration officers. Now a fourth suspect – an elderly female – has been arrested and is due to be questioned.
The original three suspects apprehended in the early hours were two males aged 22 and 60 and a 23-year-old woman. All are Hungarian nationals and have been released under investigation.
The multi-agency operation was organised after concerns were raised by supervisors at a food production factory about the condition of a 66-year-old male. He was being driven to and from work by one of the suspects.
He has since been interviewed by GLAA officers and relocated from the Oldham area after agreeing to enter the Government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for Potential Victims of Trafficking.
On searching one of the defendant’s properties yesterday the GLAA discovered another Hungarian national, in his late 50s, who said he had been living in an attic for the past six years.
He also alleges that he was forced to perform work in a food processing factory and collecting scrap metal but had no access to his wages.
This man also agreed to enter NRM process last night and will be safeguarded and assessed over the next 45 days to see if he is considered to be a victim of human trafficking.
Enquiries are continuing. No further information will be released at this stage.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Strengthening the GLAA through the Immigration Act 2016 forms part of wider Government reforms to labour market enforcement.
- On 30 April 2017, the provisions to give the GLAA’s Labour Abuse Prevention Officers (LAPOs) powers under the Police and Crime Evidence Act 1984 came into force.
- This means that LAPOs can use these powers to investigate labour market offences, including modern slavery across the economy.
- Labour market offences are offences under the following legislation: Employment Agencies Act 1973, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 and Parts 1 and 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
- The GLAA was previously the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), formed following the deaths of 23 cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004. The GLA’s remit was to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable workers within the fresh produce sector – agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering and all associated processing and packaging.