EIGHT PEO­PLE FREED IN SLAV­ERY OP­ER­A­TION

100 of­fi­cers called in for early morn­ing raid at home in Iver

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@reach­plc.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

EIGHT sus­pected “slaves” have been freed fol­low­ing a raid in­volv­ing more than 100 of­fi­cers at a home in Iver.

The early morn­ing raid at the home in Love Lane, re­sulted in three ar­rests in con­nec­tion with al­le­ga­tions of mod­ern slav­ery.

The raid, led by Thames Val­ley Po­lice and sup­ported by the Na­tional Crime Agency, Gang­mas­ters and Labour Abuse Au­thor­ity, fol­lowed a tip-off made about al­leged mod­ern slav­ery at the ad­dress.

The po­lice force be­lieves that the al­leged slaves were be­ing forced to carry out labour at build­ing sites.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor James Mather, who led the op­er­a­tion, stressed in a state­ment to the me­dia that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still in its early stages, and that “con­sid­er­able work to iden­tify any fur­ther vic­tims will fol­low”.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Mather’s state­ment added: “This op­er­a­tion has safe­guarded vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in so­ci­ety and a num­ber of ar­rests have been made. Mod­ern slav­ery is the ex­ploita­tion of peo­ple for per­sonal or com­mer­cial gain. Of­fi­cers con­tinue to work closely with our part­ner agen­cies to en­sure those who carry out this ac­tiv­ity are dis­rupted and any vic­tims are sup­ported.

“Mod­ern slav­ery could be hap­pen­ing in your com­mu­nity. It is vi­tally im­por­tant that any­one who no­tices any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity or is wor­ried about some­one should come for­ward and re­port con­cerns as vic­tims may not al­ways recog­nise them­selves as vic­tims.

“The signs of mod­ern slav­ery aren’t al­ways ob­vi­ous but there are some that you may no­tice. These in­clude peo­ple be­ing with­drawn, un­able to make eye con­tact, or be­ing re­luc­tant to talk to strangers.

“Their ap­pear­ance may be unkempt, they may be mal­nour­ished, or show­ing signs of phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal in­jury.

“They may also have in­ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing or equip­ment for their job, be work­ing long hours for lit­tle or no pay. Their ac­com­mo­da­tion may be over­crowded and poorly main­tained. They may lack some ba­sic free­doms, such as not hav­ing ac­cess to their iden­tity or travel doc­u­ments, and have their move­ments re­stricted.

“Keep­ing peo­ple safe from harm is all of our re­spon­si­bil­ity. To make a re­port please call Thames Val­ley Po­lice’s non-emer­gency num­ber, 101. If you have any con­cerns about mod­ern slav­ery – whether you need to get help, re­port a sus­pi­cion or seek ad­vice – please call the mod­ern slav­ery helpline on 08000 121 700.”

Two men; aged 49 and 42, and a 28-year-old woman, all from Iver were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mod­ern slav­ery of­fences and re­main in po­lice cus­tody.

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