A planned multi-agency operation to combat the exploitation of ‘manual labourers’ in north Wales is continuing this afternoon as North Wales Police and National Crime Agency officers further their investigation following an arrest and searches at three locations in the Deeside area this morning, Thursday 27th April 2017. During the course of the operation officers have interviewed nine people at the locations whose circumstances have raised concerns about their general well-being and status. Three of these individuals, all adult men, have been taken to a place of safety, a ‘Reception Centre’ where their medical and mental needs are being assessed by a number of organisations including the Local Authority, Social Services, the Health Authority, British Red Cross and BAWSO. That process is ongoing.
DCI Neil Harrison at North Wales Police who is leading the operation on the ground said “I’m aware today’s operation has caused, and is some cases, is still causing a degree of inconvenience to local residents and I’m extremely grateful for the community’s continued support and patience. I’m aware through very welcome feedback that our action has been welcomed by the public who clearly support what we are trying to do. Thank you. We aim to return the areas to normality as soon as practicable.”
“This morning one man was arrested for modern slavery offences, he remains in custody. Another will be interviewed in the days ahead. Most importantly three people have been safeguarded and are now with experts assessing their needs and ascertaining their full circumstances. Since this morning a significant amount of unaccountable cash has also been seized from one of the locations. An investigation surrounding the origins of the cash, as well as the firearm and stolen property recovered earlier forms part of our investigation.”
“The investigation into Modern Slavery offences can often be a long drawn out and delicate process but we are determined to ensure we conduct an investigation as thoroughly, as professionally and as compassionately as possible. Key to the investigation will be our various partner agencies as well as the public and it is to the latter that I’m asking for further help. We cannot tackle this abhorrent crime alone without information and intelligence from our communities and so it’s vital we are told of any suspicions. We’d rather investigate and establish an innocent explanation rather than miss an opportunity to free someone so please phone in your concerns. Slavery is happening right here in our towns, villages and communities. Follow our links and signposting and please take time to familiarise yourselves with the signs. You could be saving a life”
Paul Lillywhite of the National Crime Agency said: “Our officers, in partnership with the police and government, are safeguarding victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. Those behind these wicked crimes exploit their victims for profit with no regard for their rights, well being, or safety. We are pursuing the perpetrators and building a clear picture of the threat, which takes place throughout the country and affects some of society’s most vulnerable people.”
Further information can be found by visiting the Modern Day Slavery Web Site https://modernslavery.co.uk
North Wales Police has further information on its modern slavery website at www.north-wales.police.uk/advice-and-support/stay-safe/modern-slavery.aspx.
If you suspect slavery is happening near you please report it to police on 101, anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700 or BAWSO on 08007318147.
The victim help service is available from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturdays. It can be contacted by Freephone on 0300 3030159, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the websites www.victimhelpcentrenorthwales.org.uk or www.canolfangymorthiddioddefwyrgogleddcymru.org.uk