Al Jazeera documentary prompts police ‘modern slavery’ probe in Canterbury

27/4/2016  The police are investigating an allegation of ‘modern slavery’ in the district following a news report on Al Jazeera.

Kent Police confirmed it made checks at two premises in Canterbury and Chartham last week, after the news channel made the claims in a documentary.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police said: “We carried out welfare checks at the two addresses, after officers were made aware of concerns raised during a news report on Al Jazeera.

“These checks took place on Saturday, April 23.”

Detective Inspector Kath Way said that officers were carrying out further enquiries. She said: “Kent Police takes allegations of modern slavery extremely seriously and we will always seek to investigate and protect vulnerable people in our society.”

The spokeswoman added: “Modern slavery, which incorporates human trafficking and labour exploitation, is high-harm and victims can be found in all types of communities – rural, urban or coastal.”

The police urged people to look out for any signs of exploitation, which could include:

 

  • Several adults who are not related living at a single address
  • People being regularly collected very early in the morning and/or returned late at night
  • Signs of injury, malnourishment and a general unkempt appearance
  • Isolation from the rest of the community
  • People who live and work at the same address under poor conditions
  • Excessive working hours
  • Sub-standard living conditions

 

Detective Inspector Way said: ‘Information from the community, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, can play a vital role in tackling modern slavery.

“If you see something suspicious call police on 101 – or 999 in an emergency – or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

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Al Jazeera Reveals The True Scale Of Modern Slavery In Suburban Britain

26/4/2016  Britain’s Modern Slave Trade, a new documentary from Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, premiered yesterday on Al Jazeera. Following six months of undercover filming, Al Jazeera can reveal the true scale of modern slavery in Britain, and the possible links with big businesses.

During the investigation the reporters confront a car wash owner accused of slavery; they go inside an active cannabis farm; travel to Romania to meet a sex trafficker; meet a woman who has worked as a sex slave, been rescued and then re-trafficked into sex slavery in the UK; and talk to Vietnamese people smugglers as well as those they end up smuggling.

The report comes as Kevin Hyland, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, warns big business that they may unwittingly be using slaves in their supply chain.  This coincides with new laws coming into force this month (April) obliging firms to publish slavery statements.

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Evil people traffickers are smuggling migrant slaves into UK to wash your cars

25/4/2016  Britain’s anti-slavery commissioner has issued the chilling warning after a number of police raids laid bare the horrors of human trafficking and servitude at car washes across the UK.

Kevin Hyland, the former head of the Metropolitan police human trafficking unit,  urged Brits to boycott cheap carwashes – as they have become a hub for modern exploitation.

Motorists are urged to look out for the signs including poorly maintained equipment, a lack of protective clothing such as goggles and gloves and and makeshift overnight accommodation at the site.

Mr Hyland said: “There are legitimate car washes, but there have been many cases in car washes up and down the country of exploitation and modern slavery.

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Boy aged eight among known potential victims of forced marriage in UK

20/4/16  A boy as young as eight is among scores of children feared by judges to be at risk of forced marriage as official figures reveal police are struggling to bring cases to court.

The schoolboy – thought to be one of the UK’s youngest known potential victims of forced marriage – is among 71 children, teenagers and women in West Yorkshire guarded by special court orders since 2014.

His case came to light as police figures, obtained by the Guardian, showed that only a fraction of investigations into forced marriage result in a prosecution. Many are dropped because victims are too scared to give evidence against their abuser.

In West Yorkshire, five of the 51 cases investigated since June 2014 resulted in a suspect being charged.Thirty-five of these investigations were dropped due to “evidential difficulties”, of which 16 were “victim-based” problems, the figures show.

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Proposed world children’s court would punish abuses, slavery

19/4/16  NEW YORK, April 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – An international court should be set up to punish those responsible for child labor and other forms of abuse against children, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the United Nations on Monday.A court to investigate cases of child labor, child slavery and child marriage is urgently needed amid the current refugee crisis, Brown said at a media briefing ahead of a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The proposed children’s court was among several recommendations Brown brought to the U.N. as head of the Global Citizenship Commission, a group of political leaders and academics focused on human rights.

Such a court would have the power to oversee cases requested by children and issue legally binding rulings, the group said in a lengthy report.

“We need, in a sense, a civil rights struggle by and on behalf of children because their rights have been neglected in the international community,” said Brown.

Children account for half of the world’s displaced people, he said.

Some 168 million children – one in ten globally – can be classified as child laborers, according to the International Labour Organization.

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Suffolk Constabulary has identified 20 victims of human trafficking and exploitation in the county since 2013

18/4/16 It may seem like a situation more widely linked to some of Britain’s biggest cities, but new figures uncovered by the EADT and Ipswich Star today shed light on the real issue of human trafficking in Suffolk.

Data released by Suffolk Constabulary under Freedom of Information laws show that dozens of men, women and children are being forced to work or commit sexual acts against their will in the county.

Since 2013, police have identified 30 suspects and 20 victims of the crimes: trafficking for the purpose of exploitation, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and holding a person in slavery or servitude.

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Syrian refugees in Lebanon at growing risk of forced labour – anti-slavery activists

13/4/16  LONDON, April 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A growing number of children whose families have fled the Syrian war to Lebanon are being forced to work for little or no pay, many of them in dangerous conditions, anti slavery experts said on Tuesday.

About one million Syrians have fled to Lebanon, where they make up a quarter of the country’s population. Many have no legal right to work, and families are forced to find other ways to pay for food, shelter and healthcare.

Some Lebanese employers prefer to hire children, finding them cheaper and more compliant than adults, the Freedom Fund, an international initiative to fight slavery, said in a report.

Adults too are being used as forced labour and vulnerable to sexual exploitation, according to the report, which was based on interviews with local officials, refugees, international agencies and local NGOs.

“… our findings indicate that (forced labour) is becoming increasingly common as refugees become more desperate. According to two interviewees, forced labour is now so widespread as to constitute ‘the norm’,” the report said.

One NGO interviewed for the report estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of refugee children work.

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Firms’ help required to stamp out slavery

12/4/16 The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into effect October 29, 2015. This corporate law requires companies doing business in Great Britain and Northern Ireland by supplying goods or services, and which have an annual turnover exceeding £36m, to disclose information regarding their policies to eradicate all forms of slavery (which includes child, bonded and forced prison labour) and human trafficking.

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Glasgow police raids in human trafficking inquiry

11/4/16  Police in the Glasgow area have raided four properties as part of an investigation into human trafficking.

Officers were acting in cooperation with the Romanian police and Europol. The raids took place on Friday.

One man has been arrested in connection with brothel keeping and serious and organised crime. He is expected to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday.

Another man is the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal.

A police spokesman said: “As part of an ongoing investigation into Human Trafficking and Serious and Organised Crime, Police Scotland, supported by a number of partner organisations, as well as Romanian police and Europol, visited four properties in the Glasgow area on Friday 8 April 2016.

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