Police carry out welfare checks at Wiltshire nail bars as part of international modern slavery investigation

POLICE carried out welfare checks on nail bars around Wiltshire as part of an investigation into modern slavery.

The newly–formed exploitation and missing team visited five nail bars in Royal Wootton Bassett, Chippenham, Malmesbury, and Melksham as part of a Europe-wide police and multi-agency operation.

No arrests were made, nor any safeguarding issues raised by officers who were accompanied by partner agency the Medaille Trust – a charity which works to combat modern slavery.

The day’s action happened during an international week organised by Europol and the National Crime Agency which was aimed at targeting child trafficking.

Det Insp Eirin Martin from the exploitation and missing team said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking are an all too real part of our world today, unfortunately.

“Tuesday’s operation was focused on the welfare of workers in the nail bars – to explore if there were any issues of exploitation, trafficking or modern slavery.

“It was about safeguarding anyone there but also to see if we had any exploiters in those establishments. The operation was also supported by our partners – this was a good example of multi-agency, joined up working.

“Wiltshire may appear to be a quiet, leafy county but the stark reality of modern slavery is always present. In fact, it’s often where you least expect it to be.

“Our work around safeguarding those who are being exploited continues as well as prosecuting the exploiters – but we can’t do it alone.

“I would ask members of the public to be mindful of this; if you suspect human trafficking or modern slavery is taking place at a local business or in your area, please report it to us.

“Perhaps, you suspect someone you know as being exploited or, having considered this, you may believe you are a victim – if so, please contact us.”

Stephen Hay from the Medaille Trust said: “Preventing modern slavery is an important part of the work we do and through partnerships like this one we are able to help others spot the signs of exploitation and remove people from harmful situations.

“We are pleased to work alongside Wiltshire Police and hope that this relationship can help identify victims of modern slavery and bring their exploiters to justice.”

Anyone who suspects modern slavery or human trafficking taking place in their area should report suspicious incidents via 101 or on www.wiltshire.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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