Raising awareness to modern day slavery Photo: Kent Police

Kent Police and partner agencies have visited nail bars and car washes in the Canterbury district as part of work to raise awareness of modern slavery.

Officers worked alongside Canterbury City Council, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and the charity Stop the Traffik on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 July 2021, which was World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

Representatives from the organisations spoke to more than 80 workers and managers at 20 nail bars and car washes to make them aware of the legal rights and guidelines which are in place to protect workers. Those spoken to were provided with advice on human trafficking and modern slavery and were given the opportunity to speak to officials in a safe space.

As part of the work, KFRS served a prohibition notice on a property in the area due to fire safety failures.

Kent Police’s Sergeant Lee Thompson, of Canterbury Community Safety Unit, said: ‘Kent Police is determined to protect the most vulnerable in our society and we will be repeating similar activities on a regular basis to help gain the trust of potential victims, build up an intelligence picture and take enforcement action where necessary.

‘I hope all of those we spoke to over the two days will now know how they should be treated as a worker and know who to contact should they become a victim of modern slavery or be aware of someone who is.’

Canterbury City Council’s lead councillor for housing, Cllr Joe Howes, said: ‘We were very pleased to support this important project through our private sector housing team.

‘Many people who are being forced to work in this way are also vulnerable to living in poor quality, unsafe or unsuitable accommodation.

‘During this operation we gained a lot of very helpful intelligence on properties both in our district and in other council areas, and we’ll be following up on these, working with colleagues in other districts where necessary, in the coming weeks.’

If you have concerns about modern slavery in your area, report them to Kent Police by dialling 101, submitting details through our website, or by calling 999 if a crime is in progress.

You can also call The Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

For more information about Stop The Traffik, please visit their website at www.stopthetraffik.org

By Ed

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