Human trafficking arrests
Police have arrested a man and a woman from Maidstone this
morning following an investigation into the alleged exploitation of
Lithuanian men working in the food industry.
Working in partnership with the Gangmaster Licensing Authority and
UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), officers executed a
warrant at a property in Maidstone today. The two, a man aged 52
and a woman aged 50, were arrested on suspicion of human
trafficking for labour exploitation offences.
The action was taken following an extensive multi-agency
investigation after allegations were made that workers were being
forced to live in squalid conditions and threatened with violence
if they did not comply with their supervisor’s instructions.
The action was co-ordinated by DI Keith Roberts who said: "Today’s
arrests form part of an extensive investigation by Kent Police, The
GLA and UKHTC. It follows on from reports received that migrant
workers have been made to live in poor conditions and forced to
work in an environment that gave little or no regard to their
safety or general wellbeing.
"By working with our partner agencies we have been able to make
these arrests and workers will now be offered help and
Anyone found to be committing exploitation offences will be
investigated fully and brought before the courts "
Ian Livsey, chief cxecutive of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority
said: "Working with our partner agencies we have cracked down on
potential exploitation in the food supply chain. There is no hiding
place for those who exploit the vulnerable, and neither we nor our
partner law enforcement agencies will tolerate abuse of the
Liam Vernon, deputy head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre at the
Serious Organised Crime Agency, said of the arrests: "It’s
alleged that the men, who will now receive specialist care and
support from SOCA’s Vulnerable Persons Team and the Salvation Army,
were subjected to slave-like conditions and controlled through the
use of violence.
"Investigating trafficking for labour exploitation is a challenge
to us all as victims are kept locked away and unseen by
"I urge anybody with information than can lead to the
identification and rescue of a victim of trafficking to share it
with the police."
- Click here for more Maidstone news...
- Click here for more news from across the county...