Slavery focus on Blackpool hotels

A number of Blackpool hotels and massage parlours are being monitored as part of a crackdown on modern slavery.

Friday, 28th October 2016, 9:46 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 10:03 am
Police carried out checks

Police visited several premises last week as part of an operation aimed at raising awareness of modern slavery across the county.

In Western division made up of the Fylde coast, Lancaster and Morecambe, 13 massage parlours and 30 hotels were visited by officers with support from Hope For Justice, a charity that aims to end modern slavery.

No instances of slavery or trafficking were uncovered, but police said key premises will continue to be monitored and hotel managers were offered information on how to report suspicions or incidents to police.

Det Sgt Tony Atkins, one of the force’s leads working to tackle modern slavery, said: “All week we had officers out and about conducting checks and visits and helping to raise awareness of the issue, asking people to look closer and to report their concerns to us.

“It has been a really successful week and has enabled us to gather a large amount of intelligence to help us to build up a picture of activity across the county.

“Despite the fact that no slavery or trafficking offences were uncovered, our activity shows our commitment to rooting out this type of crime and we will continue to target those who chose to exploit others.

“Tackling modern slavery is not something that the constabulary can do alone. Working closely with many statutory and voluntary agencies, like we have done this week, means that we can together help those who are being exploited and mistreated.”

In addition to the planned and targeted checks across the county, the force also hosted its first modern slavery conference attended by more than 130 front line workers from the NHS, local authorities, children’s services, probation and visitors from Romanian charities and police attended the conference.

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.