Border Force lead operation at Doncaster Sheffield Airport on Anti-Slavery Day
19th October 2017
The GLAA has supported Border Force officers at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in a joint operation as part of ongoing work to tackle modern slavery.
The two day operation, which coincided with Anti-Slavery Day on Wednesday 18 October, saw officers working to highlight the issue – including warning signs to look out for and details on how to report concerns - to passengers and others in the airport community.
Mark Robinson, Assistant Director of Border Force, said:
“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. The more light that can be shone on the issue, the better and days of action like this help to raise awareness.
“These types of cases are wide-ranging and Border Force officers are trained to spot the signs of a potential victim. We will continue to work closely with partners to ensure victims are protected and criminals are brought to justice.”
On Tuesday (17 October), Border Force officers at Doncaster Sheffield dealt with two Romanian women, sisters, who had travelled from Bucharest. They initially claimed to be travelling alone and one woman said she was coming to work in a restaurant in Bradford, but after further interviews they both revealed they planned to work in the sex trade. Officers were concerned they were at risk of exploitation and both were returned to Romania for their own protection.
A separate case last month saw entry refused to two other Romanian women where officers were concerned they were being trafficked into the sex trade. They had landed with no money and no obvious means to access funds.
All front-line Border Force officers are trained to identify signs of modern slavery and make the necessary referrals. Signs that a person is a victim can include being reluctant to give travel details and their passport being held by someone else.
If officers believe a passenger is a potential victim, further interviews will be conducted. If there are still concerns for their wellbeing, the passenger may be refused entry to the UK and instead returned home or safeguarding measures put in place.
The day of action was supported by the GLAA, South Yorkshire Police and the charity, City Hearts.
Ian Waterfield, Director of Operations for the GLAA said:
“Our Border Force colleagues play a vital role in looking for signs of exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery. Sadly, there are unscrupulous people who believe trading people as commodities to make money is acceptable. But they need to understand that the UK’s approach to tackling modern slavery is now the best in the world.
“The GLAA will continue to support our partners in helping eradicate labour exploitation and slavery from our communities.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- All front-line Border Force officers are trained to identify signs of modern slavery and make the necessary referrals.
- Border Force has also created a training tool to inform port and airline staff and ferry crews in the UK and around the world how to report safeguarding concerns. The Modern Slavery training tool has been shared with 73 Approved Gate Check status airlines, Gulf Airlines and through the sustainability committee of ABTA (Association of British Travel agents), where the training has been adopted for use by Thomas Cook, Tui and Virgin holidays.
- If anyone has a concern about human trafficking or exploitation they can call the UK-wide 24/7 Modern Slavery Helpline, in confidence, on 08000 121 700.
- The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) is the UK’s foremost investigative agency into labour exploitation. The authority works in partnership to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation. www.gla.gov.uk