Police conducted a raid at the Star Frozen Foods Ltd in Tyseley as part of an anti-slavery operation. The raid was part of a joint operation between the West Midlands Police, the National Crime Agency, Birmingham City Council and the Gangmasters and Slavery unit. Also present were immigration enforcement officers, the Salvation army and interpreters.
The operation began after receiving reports that foreign workers, many Latvian, Lithuanian and Romanian, were being exploited on the industrial estate, with some even having to sleep on the site. The factory is believed to be owned by a Romanian national.
A double decker bus was present on scene to escort victims away, where upon they were questioned and given support afterwards.
Chief Inspector Colin Mattinson said: “[Modern slavery] is a hidden crime that is in plain sight. Slavery cuts across other parts of crime. This is about criminals exploiting people for financial gain.
We also have to
think about the people
in lower level services,
in areas like food
processing, car washes
and nail bars.
“They control housing and payments and often put people in debt on purpose so they can control them. The reason we have seen an increase in reports is because of the increase in community intelligence and an increase in partnership working.
“I would urge people to continue to come forward about concerns and information they may have.
“We also have to think about the people in lower level services, in areas like food processing, car washes and nail bars. This is not something we can do alone though. We rely on working with our partners and from information we receive from the public. This information could, for example, relate to signs of poverty and people being picked up very early or dropped off very late.”