Operation Senator Kent Police assists in raids to tackle the exploitation of illegal workers
22nd June 2012
Kent Police officers have been assisting in a large multi-agency operation today after conducting a series of raids to tackle the exploitation and use of illegal workers.
The action by the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA) comes following intelligence suggesting suspected gangmastering offences, for businesses operating without a GLA licence, together with the illegal supply of labour and exploitation of workers.
A number of organisations have been involved in the six raids, which were conducted at two farms, two home and two business addresses across Kent and Essex.
Those involved in the action include HMRC, the GLA, Kent and Essex Police and the Regional Organised Crime Unit. The Salvation Army also provided support to victims of exploitation and illegal workers.
It's believed 15 workers have been detained on suspicion of being in the UK illegally and they are expected to be handed over to the UK Border Agency shortly.
One such raid was carried out at 11:15am this morning in Martin Court, Kemsley, a farm in Maidstone Road in Swanley and an address in Gravesend.
A 42-year-old man from Gravesend has been detained on suspicion of being an unlicensed gangmaster. He remains in custody at Northfleet Police Station for questioning.
Notes to editors
1. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was set up to curb the exploitation of workers in the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish gathering and associated processing and packing industries.
2. Protecting workers is the key aim alongside protecting legitimate labour providers and protecting the tax payer by uncovering unpaid taxes.
3. The GLA regulate the supply of workers and labour services to any of the regulated sectors in the UK.
4. It is a criminal offence to provide labour in the industries regulated by the GLA without a licence. It is also an offence to use labour provided by unlicensed labour providers.
5. The GLA assess compliance against its Licensing Standards which reflects UK legislation, including Forced Labour Offence.
6. In December 2009 a new offence of forced labour was introduced in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. It became an offence in Scotland in August 2010
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