Nail bars, car washes and takeaways have been visited by police officers in a crackdown on people trafficking.Advertisement
Lancashire Police’s modern slavery operation saw 47 foreign nationals spoken to across the county.
In Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire a total of nine car washes, three takeaways and one nail bar were inspected.
Police officers spoke to workers to ensure they hadn’t been trafficked or forced to work against their will.
Read more: Deepdale brothel trio jailed for raping Romanian girls forced to work as prostitutes
DS Tony Atkins said: “All week we had officers out and about conducting checks and visits and helping to raise awareness of the issue, asking people to look closer and to report their concerns to us.
“It has been a really successful week and has enabled us to gather a large amount of intelligence to help us to build up a picture of activity across the county.
“Despite the fact that no slavery or trafficking offences were uncovered, our activity shows our commitment to rooting out this type of crime and we will continue to target those who chose to exploit others.
“Tackling modern slavery is not something that the constabulary can do alone. Working closely with many statutory and voluntary agencies, like we have done this week, means that we can together help those who are being exploited and mistreated. Continued agency collaboration will enable us to combat the threat of trafficking and slavery across Lancashire.”
Immigration Enforcement found three immigration offenders following the police-led week of activity in Lancashire.
Two Vietnamese men were found working illegally, the first, aged 21 had entered the country illegally and was found at a car wash, the second, aged 27, had overstayed his visa, and was found in a nail bar.
Both men must now report regularly to Immigration Enforcement whilst their cases are progressed.
A 24-year-old Albanian man, who had entered the country illegally, was found in a car wash and is currently in immigration detention pending removal from the UK.
Karen McDonough, Assistant Director for Immigration Enforcement in Lancashire, said: “Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable and law enforcement has an essential role to play in eradicating this abuse from our society.
“We regularly work with our partners to identify and visit organisations and businesses where intelligence leads us to believe somebody is being exploited or at risk of slavery.”
Anyone suspecting human trafficking or modern slavery can share their concerns by calling 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.