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Commissioner says more can be done to educate communities about modern slavery

Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has applauded the multi-agency response which has today seen 200 people rescued from suspected modern slavery on a Cornish farm.

Commissioner says more can be done to educate communities about modern slavery

Today (Thursday 8 February) police in Cornwall, with support from the Gang Masters Labour Abuse Authority, HMRC, Cornwall Council and The Salvation Army, executed a warrant at Bosahan Farm, a flower picking farm near Manaccan, Helston, on the suspicion that modern slavery offences were taking place against migrant workers.

Ms Hernandez, who as PCC oversees the Government’s £8.5m investment in the national modern slavery unit based at Exmouth, said: “This is an excellent coordinated response. I am pleased to see police and partners coming together and taking this alleged offence very seriously.

“I believe we need to do more within our communities to bring an end to these medieval practices.

“There is more we can do to help our communities make better purchasing choices. I want to investigate if there is anything we can do alongside Trading Standards to identify retailers that only sell products from suppliers who can prove their employment practices are ethical.”

The safeguarding and welfare of approximately 200 workers are now being managed by Cornwall Council with support from The Salvation Army at a specially created reception centre.

Those affected by this alleged crime are mostly male migrants thought to be from Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria.

Three local men have arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences and are now in police custody awaiting questioning.

Please visit the Home Office modern slavery website if you wish to know how to spot the signs of modern slavery and, if you have the slightest suspicion that there is a crime happening in your area, contact:

  • the national modern slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700
  • Non-emergency 101, 67101 sms/text number for the deaf/hard hearing/speech impaired 18001 101 Minicom/Textphone
  • Non-emergency email: 101 (or 999 if someone is in imminent danger)
  • or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.