Police target labour exploitation in Hertfordshire

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Hertfordshire Police took part in a Europe-wide project to combat labour exploitation

Hertfordshire Police took part in Operation AIDANT, a Europe-wide project carried out between September 14 and September 18, to combat labour exploitation.

The project in the UK was coordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) working with police forces across the country.

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The Operation Tropic team - Hertfordshire’s specialist Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (HTMS) unit - working with the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) and East Herts Council Environmental Health Officers also supported the activities.

Operation Tropic- Hertfordshire’s specialist Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery unitOperation Tropic- Hertfordshire’s specialist Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery unit
Operation Tropic- Hertfordshire’s specialist Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery unit

A multi-agency warrant, led by Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team was executed on Monday, September 14, at a retail premises in Watford High Street, supported by officers from Modern Slavery Unit (Tropic), local Scorpion team, GLAA and HFRS.

The owner and staff had welfare checks and the premises was inspected. No offences were identified but one man was arrested for immigration matters.

On Thursday, September 17, an unannounced visit to a property in Hertford, with HFRS and environmental health officers as concerns were identified after a previous visit.

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No modern slavery offences were found but an unlicensed home with multi occupancy was discovered.

On Friday, September 18, enforcement visits were carried out to check that former offenders, currently under Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STRO), are complying with the orders.

Detective Sergeant Jill Green, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (HTMS) unit, said: “During this week of action we carried out some great partnership working to help protect the community by ensuring that employees are aware of their rights and entitlements in the UK and not subjected to any exploitation.

“These weeks of action are a good opportunity for all of the agencies to work together to identify and help trafficked and exploited individuals.

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"It can be difficult to obtain evidence as victims are reluctant to cooperate with police and may not even realise they are being exploited and controlled.

"These operations enable us to speak to the individuals and get them help.

"Victims can be anyone, from people living on the streets, vulnerable children and adults, to people trafficked into the country who speak little English.

2As part of the drive to combat modern slavery, trafficking and exploitation we are keen to raise awareness of this little understood issue and urge people to be vigilant and report anything they consider suspicious.”

Spot the signs of labour exploitation

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Anyone with concerns about human trafficking or modern slavery should call police via 101 or the national Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. In an emergency call 999.

The Beacon hotline 03000 11 55 55 is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm or visit the website, for information and advice to access support.