GLAA tackles labour exploitation in joint op in Salisbury

A number of addresses in Salisbury were raided to check on the welfare of employees suspected to be victims of labour exploitation.

Officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) were joined by Wiltshire Police and other partners in an operation that took place yesterday. According to a statement released by the GLAA, 26 people were identified as potential victims of modern slavery.

While 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, the GLAA added.  

Although no arrests were made, the GLAA says work is ongoing with the Romanian community in Wiltshire 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.”

Detective superintendent Jeremy Carter of Wiltshire Police said: “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.

“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.”

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