Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

Modern slavery a mile from home

by Susan van de Ven on 21 December, 2019

I was very sad to receive this report from Cambs Police on the discovery of a modern slavery operation at Kneesworth. The link at the bottom leads on to more general information about modern slavery in Cambridgeshire and how to become better informed.

Modern slavery operation finds five men at Cambridgeshire nursery:

A nursery business is still employing vulnerable workers in “unacceptable conditions”, police investigating modern day slavery have found.

Officers found five Vietnamese workers living on site during a follow-up safeguarding visit to an agricultural nursery in Kneesworth, Cambridgeshire.

Slavery is a “very true and real occurrence”, a police spokeswoman said.

The spot check, on Friday, was carried out by a combined team from Cambridgeshire Police, South Cambridgeshire District Council and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

The five men were living in “cramped and poor conditions”, with one 51-year-old claiming he arrived in the country on the back of a lorry in 2014, police said.

He was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences but later released on bail to attend an immigration centre.

Sgt Emma Hilson said: “The purpose of this visit was to check on the vulnerable people living within our community and ensure they are protected from any type of exploitation.

“While we didn’t find anyone actively working at the nursery, the conditions in which the people there were living were unacceptable.”

Officers found two caravans, washing and cooking facilities, as well as animals “kept in poor conditions”.

“It’s often a misconception that slavery is a thing of the past however, sadly, it is a very true and real occurrence,” Sgt Hilson added.

“It is a hidden crime that occurs across the county, even in some of our most affluent areas. Increasing intelligence in this area is key to protecting the vulnerable.”

More information here.…/safeguarding-kneesworth

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