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Kent Police executed four warrants across the Medway Towns following allegations of exploitation of migrant workers Three men have been arrested following an investigation into the alleged exploitation of Slovakian nationals working in Medway. Working in partnership with the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA), Kent Police executed four warrants across the Medway Towns in the early hours of Wednesday 7 August. A 34 year old man was arrested on suspicion of people trafficking offences, a 57 year old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud and a 26 year old man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and fraud. The three men, all from Chatham, have been bailed to 1 October pending further enquiries. Vehicles seized Officers carried out three warrants in Chatham – at Salisbury Road, Chaffinch Close and a business premises in the High Street – and one at Windsor Road in Gillingham. Several vehicles, including a Bentley GT Continental, were seized during the operation. The action was taken following an extensive multi-agency investigation between Kent Police and the GLA after allegations were made workers were being forced to live in squalid conditions and threatened with violence if they did not comply with their supervisor’s instructions. The workers were working in a number of different industries including the food industry. Squalid conditions The action was coordinated by Detective Sergeant Ian Sanderson of Kent Police, who said: ‘The arrests come from some extensive intelligence and reports which suggests this group extort members of their own community, promising them all sorts of riches in England, but in fact forcing them to live in squalid conditions. This group have looked to profit from this by controlling their wages and any benefits they may be entitled to and the victims are very often too afraid to report matters to police. ‘I hope this demonstrates that Kent Police will take action when these issues are reported and anyone found to be committing exploitation offences will be investigated fully and brought before the courts.’ Dismantling organised crime networks The GLA’s Chief Executive, Paul Broadbent, said ‘The operation and ongoing activity is an excellent example of the joint work that the GLA are involved in with partner agencies nationally. ‘The GLA will continue to play its part in disrupting and dismantling organised crime networks that seek to traffic highly vulnerable people, force them to work and engage in other associated criminality. ‘Our close working relationship with Kent Police shows the despicable individuals that prey on the vulnerable will be identified, arrested and prosecuted for a wide range of crimes they commit. We look forward to helping the police ensure Kent stays a very safe county.’
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