More arrests surrounding recruitment agency in alleged modern slavery offences

There have been further arrests following the owners of a recruitment agency being taken into custody in December last year.

Two more suspects were arrested by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) as part of investigations into a recruitment agency accused of supplying vulnerable students to care homes in North Wales.

On 16 December, a husband and wife (a 31-year-old British-Indian man and a 29-year-old woman, an Indian national), both registered nurses, were arrested at their home address in Abergele on suspicion of modern slavery offences. They are currently released under investigation.

The GLAA told Recruiter it was not able to divulge the name of the agency at this time.

Last week, two men aged 24 and 46 were taken into custody after early morning raids conducted by the GLAA and North Wales Police in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, on Thursday 5 May.

Both individuals are currently being questioned by the GLAA on suspicion of forced labour and human trafficking offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Nine Indian students were identified by the GLAA as being potential victims of modern slavery and labour exploitation in the raid back in December.

Officers found the workers sleeping on mattresses on the floor in cramped, cold and unsanitary conditions (see image) at two addresses in Colwyn Bay.

All the victims were transported to a nearby reception centre and have had safeguarding packages put in place, including food parcels and enhanced security at their addresses. Five further potential victims, also Indian nationals on student visas, were identified within the community and are receiving the same support.

Professionals working within care homes in North Wales raised the alarm about the quality of care that the staff supplied by the agency were providing to residents.

Information supplied to the Modern Slavery Helpline and shared with the GLAA and police said that the workers were turning up tired and “smelling”. The workers were said to be always hungry and were even spotted eating leftovers from meals given to the care home residents.

The six care homes that have used workers supplied by the agency have been notified, as have the families of the residents living in the six facilities. The care homes are no longer using workers supplied by the recruitment agency.

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