Two car washes and a number of nail bars across Northampton have been targetted by police in a crackdown on modern slavery and human trafficking.
Yesterday (September 5), officers visited businesses as part of work to safeguard people who may be victims.
Two women, one Chinese and one Albanian, were discovered at separate nail bars in the town. Both had entered the country illegally and were working illegally.
Detective Chief Inspector Julie Mead from Northamptonshire Police, said: “People often think of slavery as a thing of the past but sadly it is very much still an issue in the UK and beyond.
“Organised crime groups traffic people into the UK in order to work in places such as car washes, nail bars and even brothels."
In many cases, the victim is promised a better life in this country and told lies about what will happen to them when they arrive, which can include being moved into shared accommodation and being forced to work for someone in order to pay back debts generated from their travel to the UK.
DCI Mead said: "The victim will then incur further debt while living here and it becomes almost impossible for them to get help. In a lot of situations, they don’t believe they are victims of a crime or are scared to contact the police which is why our days of action are so important.
“Our visits mean we are able to speak to people working in car washes and nail bars, away from their employers and colleagues and find out who they are and if they are a victim of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.”
Anyone who is found to be a slavery victim is offered support and can assist with criminal prosecutions.
Anyone concerned that someone they know might be a victim of trafficking can call the police on 101 or report their concerns to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.