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UK – Gangmasters Licensing Authority makes arrests

22 July 2013

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) has arrested eight people as a result of two enquiries relating to the exploitation of workers. The GLA licenses companies that supply labour to agriculture, horticulture, food processing & packaging, forestry, and shellfish gathering.    

In one incident, seven people were arrested, six of them charged, in South Derbyshire. Three men and three women appeared in court on 18 July 2013 each charged with human trafficking. One woman was released on bail pending further investigation.

Officers discovered 11 potential victims of human trafficking at the houses belonging to one or more of the suspects. Police believe that some of the victims’ details may have been used to claim benefits fraudulently and that some victims have been sent to work at different locations in the city. The roles they carried out included flower packing and meat processing.

In another incident, a man was arrested on suspicious of fraud as part of an on-going multi-agency inquiry into the suspected exploitation of workers and other criminal activity in Norwich.

Paul Broadbent, GLA chief executive said: “As an intelligence-led organisation, we rely on members of the public to inform us when something appears to be wrong within the employment sector we regulate. In this case, we had received enough information to suggest the suspect could be acting as a gangmaster unlawfully, and the properties we visited may be involved in serious organised criminal activity.”

Raids took place on Thursday 18th July as part of a police ‘day of action’ in Norwich and came after months of investigative work into the activities of a Lithuanian gang operating in the North of the city.  

Superintendent Dave Marshall, Norwich Policing commander, said: “This day of action should serve as a reminder to those involved in criminality that we are intent on disrupting this activity. Whether it’s the use of illegal drugs, handling stolen property, or the exploitation of the vulnerable; we are determined to target these issues, which often impact on the quality of life for residents in our communities.”

“Criminals need to be looking over their shoulder… I can reassure them we won’t be far behind,” he added. 

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