Tuesday 10 May 2022 6:36 AM UTC
LONDON May 10: Two men have been arrested into a recruitment agency accused of supplying vulnerable students to care homes in North Wales last week.
The arrests by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) is as part of investigations into a recruitment agency accused of supplying vulnerable students to care homes in North Wales, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) reported.
The two men, reportedly Keralites, aged 24 and 46, were taken into custody after early morning raids conducted by the GLAA and North Wales Police in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, on May 5.
Both individuals were questioned by the GLAA on suspicion of forced labour and human trafficking offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. They have since been released under investigation.
Nine Indian students were identified by the GLAA as being potential victims of modern slavery and labour exploitation in December 2021. Officers found the workers sleeping on mattresses on the floor in cramped, cold and unsanitary conditions at two addresses in Colwyn Bay.
All the victims were transported to a nearby reception centre and have had safeguarding packages put in place, including food parcels and enhanced security at their addresses.
Five further potential victims, also Indian nationals on student visas, were identified within the community and are receiving the same support.
A husband and wife, both registered nurses who run a recruitment agency, and reportedly from Kerala, were arrested at their home address in Abergele on suspicion of modern slavery offences.
They are currently released under investigation.
The six care homes are no longer using workers supplied by the recruitment agency.
GLAA officers acted after information provided to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline indicated that the workers were turning up to their shifts tired and “smelling”.
Care home professionals also raised concerns about the quality of care that the staff supplied by the agency were giving to residents.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “This is a complex investigation, and one that requires a certain level of sensitivity bearing in mind the sector in which the alleged exploitation has taken place.
“That being said, we will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers under any circumstances. It’s crucial that people continue to be aware of the signs of exploitation and report their concerns to us so we can take action, as we have done today.”
If you believe that someone has been exploited for their labour, call the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, call the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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