Companies in Wakefield are being targetted as part of a human trafficking and exploitation investigation, writes Danielle Hayes.
Businesses who employ manual labour have been visited in the last few months by officials to ensure their employees are working in good conditions.
Local officers, detectives, immigration officials and specialist colleagues from the force’s Human Trafficking Team all took part in the first investigation. They were joined by the Environment Agency, Wakefield Council and Hope for Justice charity.
So far, no one has come forward to say they have been a victim of trafficking or slavery, but police are following up some leads and have made employees aware of services available to help them.
Chief Inspector Kate Riley of Wakefield District Police, said in a statement: “The intelligence we gained is being investigated and more operations are planned for the coming months.
“Human trafficking and modern slavery are crimes which should not be taking place in the 21st century. Sadly, it most likely is the case that activity of this type is on going in the Wakefield District.”
Meanwhile, Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, issued a warning to offenders.
He said: “Those who benefit from trafficking others need to know that justice will catch up with them, and victims should know that in West Yorkshire the resources and support are in place to protect them.”
Wakefield District Police are encouraging potential human trafficking victims in the district to come forward and seek help.
If you have been the victim of human trafficking or modern day slavery call police on 101. Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.