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GLAA operation leads to three arrests in Birmingham

Two Romanian men and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and human trafficking offences following an operation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in Birmingham.

GLAA officers supported by West Midlands Police made the arrests at an address in the Tyseley area of the city on the morning of Wednesday 22nd May. All three suspects were questioned before being later released under investigation.

Two workers were safeguarded prior to the operation and accepted into the government's National Referral Mechanism (NRM), a process for ensuring potential victims of modern slavery are given the help and support that they need. Investigators spoke to workers at the address to check on their welfare and understand their relationship to the suspects. Evidence was also seized following searches of the property. It is alleged that the suspects arranged for a number of people to work at a logistics company through a recruitment agency before controlling their finances.

GLAA senior investigating officer, Andy Davies, said, "This operation came after a call to our confidential reporting hotline which was then corroborated and supported by industry intelligence.

"We have a close and positive relationship with recruitment agencies and private industry helping them to raise their awareness of modern slavery and spotting the signs of exploitation.

"This case proves that this education is working and as a result we're getting some quality intelligence coming through.

"However, we know there is more to do. While we actively engage with workers and potential victims on a daily basis, many simply do not realise that they are being exploited.

"Bringing people to the UK on the promise of a better life but profiting from their labour is modern slavery by its very definition and something we are determined to stamp out."

Detective Superintendent Richard North, from West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit, stated, "There is no place for the exploitation of people and we will not hesitate in taking firm and decisive action to stop this.

"I'd urge people to look out for tell-tale signs - like large numbers of people staying in multi-occupancy houses and being ferried to and from the address on vans or minibuses early in the morning and returning late at night."

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