Officers from the Council’s Trading Standards team, Humberside Police, the Home Office, Equans, the Community Safety Partnership and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) have carried out a number of visits to small businesses in North East Lincolnshire as part of Operation Esoteric.
The routine visits, which were carried out on Tuesday 17 October, looked at working conditions and employee pay processes.
Operation Esoteric was set up earlier this year to tackle modern slavery in the workplace, looking at working conditions and checking whether employees were receiving pay slips, being paid in line with the minimum wage, and were not working excessive hours.
Speaking after the visits, Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“These visits are part of our work with Humberside Police and other partner agencies including the Home Office, to tackle poor working conditions and other element of modern slavery.
“We want to work closely with businesses and the public to eradicate poor working conditions, illegal treatment of workers and, of course, modern slavery.
“I’d like to thank our partners in the Police, the Home Office, Equans, Trading Standards and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority for their support on this work.
“Residents are our eyes and ears, and I really encourage people to recognise the signs of poor working environments and of modern slavery because it affects all of us, it shouldn’t be happening, and residents can report it.”
Humberside Police Detective Sergeant Richard Kirk from the MSHT team said:
“These days of action are really important and form part of our on-going commitment to ensure slavery and the exploitation of people in our communities is prevented, as well as raising awareness of the issues around slavery and exploitation.
“During the day of action, numerous businesses were visited, we also spoke to over 20 workers about their rights as an employee in the workplace and, thankfully, no offences were identified.
“By engaging with these businesses, we can ensure that workers are not being exploited. Speaking to owners and managers, we have the opportunity to discuss employment laws and the exploitation of people directly.
“We are committed to not only helping, but preventing, victims of modern slavery and with the intelligence from our communities, we are able to safeguard those at risk of exploitation.
“We would encourage anyone with any concerns about people they feel may be being exploited or forced into working to contact us on our non-emergency number of 101, or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121700.”
To report a suspected case of modern slavery, you can call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700, or report online at www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report.
To find out more about the signs of modern slavery, visit: www.gla.gov.uk/publications/resources.