Coun­cil backs char­ter to say slav­ery has no place to hide This is pa­per..

West Lothian Courier - - News -

West Loth­ian Coun­cil has backed a strat­egy de­signed to en­sure that modern slav­ery prac­tices“have no place to hide”.

Bath­gate coun­cil­lor John McGinty won ap­proval for his mo­tion from the full coun­cil when he urged that the au­thor­ity adopts a char­ter drawn up by the Co-op­er­a­tive Party to tackle what is recog­nised as a grow­ing prob­lem across the UK.

It comes just weeks af­ter four men were con­victed of a va­ri­ety of of­fences in­clud­ing peo­ple smug­gling in which men were brought into the coun­try from Latvia and housed in West Loth­ian.

Vic­tims be­lieved they would be of­fered em­ploy­ment in a ware­house in Bath­gate where one of those con­victed worked.

Some vic­tims were forced to sur­ren­der their wages to the group, oth­ers were forced un­der duress to open bank ac­counts which were then used for money laun­der­ing and fraud by the crime group.

The new char­ter calls for coun­cil staff, es­pe­cially pro­cure­ment staff, to be trained to spot ev­i­dence of modern slav­ery prac­tices by look­ing for clues like ab­nor­mally low-cost ten­ders for works.

It also urges coun­cils to en­sure that any firms con­tracted to work for them are not us­ing labour un­der duress.

The char­ter re­quires a com­mit­ment from coun­cils that they will work with po­lice and na­tional law en­force­ment agen­cies where they be­lieve they dis­cover ev­i­dence of modern slav­ery.

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