Council and partners support workers following modern slavery operation

Following a Devon and Cornwall Police operation on the Lizard early this morning (08 February 2018), Cornwall Council is providing welfare and support services for 14 people who have elected to seek help through a National Referral Mechanism which is applied in circumstances like this which means that potential victims are offered support.

The Council, working with partners including the Police, Cornwall Housing, the British Red Cross, the Salvation Army and health services, is providing support while this process is underway.

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Fourteen people believed to be aged between 20 and 40 years (12 males and 2 females) have asked for additional support and have been taken to a safe location by mini bus this afternoon. They are Lithuanian and Romanian speakers.

The people being supported are not in trouble and they are not being detained. They are free to leave at any time but will be encouraged to take up the offers of help that are available.

All agencies are working together to help the alleged victims over the next 72 hours, after which an assessment will be carried out to decide next steps.

The Council and partner agencies will now work with the affected people to:

  • find temporary safe accommodation
  • provide any medical treatment
  • link people with other work opportunities

The Council said other local farms had come forward to offer alternative employment should people want it, showing strong community support.

Modern slavery is a crime. It is work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered him or herself voluntarily.

Victims are forced to work against their will, often working very long hours for little or no pay in dire conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in many sectors of our economy, including farm work.

If anyone suspects modern slavery, if there is an immediate risk of harm, call the Police on 999 or contact the Modern Slavery Helpline 0800 0121 700.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking or modern slavery and ensuring they receive the appropriate support. More information about the NRM can be found on the National Crime Agency website

Story posted 08 February 2018

Update on 09 February 2018 

The Council is now winding down its support having listened to people’s concerns and ensured people’s ongoing safety and wellbeing.