Three arrested in 'modern slavery' investigation
2nd November 2017
Three people have been arrested in Kent today in connection with a Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority investigation into modern slavery in the poultry industry.
Five warrants were executed early this morning in the Maidstone area by GLAA officers assisted by Kent Police.
Two men, aged 55 and 54, and a 55-year-old woman were arrested and remain in police custody. They are being questioned in connection with alleged modern slavery and unlicensed gangmaster offences.
Three Lithuanian males, who were sent to work in chicken factories, have been taken to a reception centre where they will be invited to provide statements.
They will also be assessed to establish if they are potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery.
Other agencies assisting on the operation included the Salvation Army, Maidstone Borough Council, the Women’s Institute and the National Health Service.
Notes to editors
- The GLAA operates throughout the UK and is a Non-Departmental Public Body.
- It was formed in 2005 to protect vulnerable workers in the wake of the Morecambe Bay disaster when 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned on the sands.
- Under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act (2004), it is illegal to operate as, or enter into an agreement with, an unlicensed gangmaster.
- Under the Immigration Act 2016, the GLAA was granted an extended remit and additional powers to investigate all forms of labour abuse in England and Wales.
- The GLAA employs specialist investigators who are able to look into workers’ problems ranging from underpayment of wages through to forced labour offences, related human trafficking and other aspects of modern slavery.
- The authority continues to licence companies that supply labour (gangmasters) for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering as well as all associated processing and packaging.
- Its main strategic priorities are: preventing worker exploitation, protecting vulnerable people, pursuing those who exploit others for their work either financially, physically and/or through coercion and control.