'Modern-day slaves' found in Kneesworth
PUBLISHED: 17:26 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:32 07 September 2018
Police are supporting eight people they believe could have been held as slaves after discovering them at a business premises in Kneesworth today.
The operation – involving the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, Cambs police, HM Revenue and Customs, the fire and rescue service and other agencies – led to the group being taken to a centre and receiving safeguarding support.
ERSOU carried out a warrant at the business site in Old North Road in conjunction with the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority.
The victims are believed to have worked at the premises for little or no money, living on-site in cramped and poor conditions.
Det Ch Insp Lee Davies from ERSOU said: “Modern-day slavery can come in many forms and is happening in plain sight across the country every single day.
“Protecting vulnerable victims from any type of exploitation is always at the heart of what we do, and we will continue to work alongside our partners to keep people safe across the eastern region.”
Chris Hogben, head of the NCA’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, said: “Tackling the threat of modern slavery and human trafficking, including the safeguarding of the vulnerable, remains a priority for UK law enforcement – and multi-agency operations such as this are key to improving our intelligence picture.
“Together, we’re using all the tools at our disposal to disrupt the organised criminals who seek to exploit the most vulnerable people in our society for profit and bring them to justice.”
GLAA senior investigating officer Tony Byrne said: “Our number one priority as the GLAA is to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation, and we are proud to work with our law enforcement colleagues to crack down on suspected modern slavery and other illegal practices.
“I would urge the public to be aware of the potential signs of exploitation and report their concerns. One call to us or our colleagues means we can take swift and decisive action to protect victims and bring those responsible for the abuse to justice.”
Police have said nobody has been arrested in connection with the investigation at this stage. Enquiries continue.
For more around modern-day slavery, including how to spot the signs that someone may be at risk of being exploited, visit the Unseen website or download their free app. You can also call the Unseen modern day slavery helpline on 08000 121 700 or submit a concern online.
To report any concerns about modern-day slavery directly to the police call 101. If you believe life is in immediate danger, call 999.