GLAA investigators arrested a man in Nottingham this morning in connection with an alleged Modern Slavery offence of human trafficking for labour exploitation.
The 50-year-old Romanian national was apprehended early this morning (Monday) at an address in the Radford area of the city following a joint operation with Nottingham City Council’s Safer Housing Team and Nottinghamshire Police.
Three other Romanian males, aged 41, 44 and 28 have been recovered from the same property.
They are now being safeguarded, questioned and assessed at a temporary reception centre and could be passed through the Government’s National Referral Mechanism for victims of human trafficking.
The workers had been brought to the UK about a month ago on the promise of well-paid jobs in a large distribution warehouse but received only a fraction of the wages they earned.
The council’s Safer Housing Team inspected the property for poor housing conditions and compliance with housing licensing.
The inspection resulted in the discovery of unsafe conditions and the property being prohibited from occupation under the Housing Act.
This was a joint multi-agency operation that was developed by sharing information between the GLAA and Community Protection.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Dave Powell said: “Today’s operation was part of an ongoing initiative to check unlicensed properties that are known to be housing large numbers of workers.
“Further enquiries with the council established that this address in Radford appeared to have eight residents but it was not licensed for multiple occupancy use.
“Labour exploitation and workers living in unlicensed rental properties often go hand-in-hand so we arranged a safe-guarding visit along with our colleagues from the city council to check on the safety of both the property and those housed within.
“As a result we have uncovered what appears to be an organised criminal operation established to exploit workers for profit and we now have a suspect in custody who will be investigated on suspicion of trafficking offences.”
Cllr Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community and Customer Services at Nottingham City Council, said: “Our Safer Housing Team found one property subdivided into two, one of these was in a very unsafe condition and officers closed down the property.
“This is great work by both agencies and shows good results coming from collaborative working. This is all part of the Safer Housing Teams day-to-day work to investigate unlicensed rental properties. By working closely with partners, like the GLAA the service protects victims from rogue landlords in unlicensed properties.”