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Couple arrested on suspected care worker slavery offences

2015 General Election – Crime And Policing

A husband and wife have been arrested on suspicion of exploiting vulnerable students and supplying them to six care homes in North Wales.

The 31-year-old British-Indian man and 29-year-old woman, an Indian national, were taken into custody after their home was raided by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in Abergele on Thursday, December 16.

Two addresses in the Colwyn Bay area were searched by the GLAA at the same time, and nine Indian students were identified as potential victims of modern slavery and labour abuse.

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GLAA officers found the workers sleeping on mattresses on the floor in cramped, cold and unsanitary conditions.

A further five potential victims, also Indian nationals on student visas, were identified within the community.

The suspects, both registered nurses who run a recruitment agency, were interviewed by the GLAA on suspicion of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, before being released under investigation.

All the care homes that have used workers supplied by the agency have been notified, as have the families of the residents living in the six facilities.

The GLAA said it has been working with Care Inspectorate Wales, and the relevant local authorities on the investigation. The local authorities are providing support to the care homes and individuals affected.

GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “There is a well-publicised shortage of workers within the care industry which has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents real risks as opportunists and unscrupulous employers may look to fill this void by exploiting vulnerable workers.

“We believe that the suspects have recruited the potential victims from areas and regions of India that they themselves are familiar with. They appear to have gathered people who aren’t qualified, aren’t suitable for the work they are being asked to carry out, and who have been made to work excessive hours, especially so if they are here on student visas.”

If you believe that someone has been exploited for their labour, call the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or email intelligence@gla.gov.uk

Alternatively, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

 

Tags : Crimeslavery
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The author Lee Peart

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