Six people arrested under modern slavery laws after raids in Derby

Police suspect ten Latvian men were unable to access bank accounts set up in their name 

One of the group pulled out a knife while the others searched her pockets on Arden Road, Frankley, Birmingham
One of the group pulled out a knife while the others searched her pockets on Arden Road, Frankley, Birmingham

Six people have arrested in a suspected modern slavery case after morning raids in Derby.

Ten Latvian nationals, who police believe to be victims of human trafficking, were also discovered during the operation.

Police believe the men were smuggled into the UK from the eastern European country, and have been working for very little pay.

The Latvian men have also not been able to access bank accounts set up in their names, officers suspected.

They are now being looked after by specialist agencies.

The arrests came on the same day 11 members of a traveller family were sentenced to a total of 79 years in prison for modern slavery and fraud offences.

The Independent has launched a campaign, Slaves on our Streets, to help combat the issue of modern slavery.

Of the Derby operation, Detective Chief Inspector Rick Alton said: “We have been working very closely with Latvian authorities on this case and we’re grateful for their support.

“We have also been supported by partner agencies including the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Derby City Council and HMRC. We are in the early stages of this investigation and the safety and wellbeing of the men we believe to be victims remains our priority.

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“As a force, we take allegations of trafficking and modern slavery very seriously. In many cases, people are brought into the UK and are promised the chance of a good job and a better life.

“But this often turns into exploitation where victims are made to work with little or no pay and without money and the correct documentation, it can be very difficult for them to leave.”

Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority Head of Operations Ian Waterfield said: “Ensuring vulnerable people are not taken advantage of and exploited for their labour in the UK is the very reason we exist. While we were granted the power to investigate such matters independently in May, we will continue to assist whenever called upon.

“Our officers have specialist experience and knowledge of dealing with trafficking cases and I am pleased to hear that by working in partnership the alleged victims in this case have been removed safely.”

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