Operation Aidant activity targets modern slavery across Surrey
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Warrants, arrests, licensing checks and referrals to partner agencies were all part of the three week Force campaign targeting domestic servitude and labour exploitation in order to tackle modern slavery offences across Surrey.
The past three weeks (Monday 12 April – Friday 30 April) Surrey Police took part in, and supported a national campaign, Operation Aidant, led by the National Crime Agency and Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as raising vital awareness of these hidden crimes. The particular focus was on victims who have been trafficked to the UK, or exploited in the UK, for the purposes of labour exploitation and domestic servitude.
While much of the activity was about prevention, education and recognising the signs of domestic and labour servitude, operational activity looked at various avenues to locate and protect individuals exploited into modern slavery.
The campaign, which also included licensing checks by officers and Police Community Support Officers at various premises, including car washes, takeaways and farms, had begun with a multi-agency operation which was carried out last Monday at an address in Chessington Road, Epsom and Ewell.
The focus of the operation was to establish whether exploitation through slavery, poor living conditions or low and non-existent wages was taking place. At this time two people have been identified as potential victims of modern day slavery, having been trafficked into the UK, and exploited at various locations. One person has been arrested on suspicion of offences relating to labour exploitation. The victims have been safeguarded from further harm.
At this time two people have been identified as potential victims of modern day slavery, having been trafficked into the UK, and exploited at various locations. The victims have been safeguarded from further harm.
Detective Constable and Force Modern Slavery Advisor Rebecca Davies said:
“Our activity focusing on modern slavery offences, and in particular on identifying potential victims of exploitation, has shown that modern slavery is a threat and is happening around us in our local communities.
“Protecting the vulnerable and exploited victims and pursuing those who commit these horrific offences is something we take extremely seriously.
“I urge anyone who has any concerns about activity relating to individuals being forced to work against their will for low or no wages, or being controlled or mistreated, to report it to us.”
Modern slavery could be happening in your community so it’s important you know the signs that could indicate someone is a victim of this crime.
The signs aren’t always obvious but these are some that you may notice:
do they look scruffy, malnourished or injured?
are they acting anxious, afraid or unable to make eye contact?
are they working long hours, wearing unsuitable clothing or have the wrong equipment for the job?
is where they are living overcrowded, poorly maintained or are the curtains always closed?
do they behave like they’re being instructed by someone else, picked up/dropped off at the same time and place every day or don’t have access to money or identification?
Alternatively, suspicions can be raised anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you think you are a victim of modern slavery please seek help. The Modern Slavery Helpline can assist you to understand what help is available including information, advice and ways to access support. The helpline is confidential and you don't have to give your name if you don’t want to. For more information, visit https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/ or call 08000 121 700.