Nail bars - modern slavery and human trafficking checks made by police
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Officers from a dedicated police team have been carrying out welfare checks on several nail bars in the north of the county.
On Tuesday 29 June, our newly formed Exploitation and Missing Team visited a total of five nail bars in Chippenham, Malmesbury, Royal Wootton Bassett and Melksham, as part of a Europe-wide police and multi-agency operation.
The day's action was part of a international week organised by Europol and the National Crime Agency (for the UK) aimed at targeting, in particular but not exclusively, child trafficking.
No arrests were made, nor any safeguarding issues raised following the visits by officers, who were accompanied by partner agency the Medaille Trust - a charity which works to combat modern slavery.
Det Insp Eirin Martin, from EMT, said: "Modern slavery and human trafficking are an all too real part of our world today, unfortunately.
"Tuesday's operation was focused on the welfare of workers in the nail bars - to explore if there were any issues of exploitation, trafficking or modern slavery. It was about safeguarding anyone there but also to see if we had any exploiters in those establishments.
"The operation was also supported by our partners - this was a good example of multi-agency, joined up working.
"Wiltshire may appear to be a quiet, leafy county but the stark reality of modern slavery is always present. In fact, it's often where you least expect it to be.
"Our work around safeguarding those who are being exploited continues as well as prosecuting the exploiters - but we can't do it alone.
"I would ask members of the public to be mindful of this; if you suspect human trafficking or modern slavery is taking place at a local business or in your area, please report it to us.
"Perhaps, you suspect someone you know as being exploited or, having considered this, you may believe you are a victim - if so, please contact us."
Stephen Hay, from the Medaille Trust, said: “Preventing modern slavery is an important part of the work we do and through partnerships like this one we are able to help others spot the signs of exploitation and remove people from harmful situations.
"We are pleased to work alongside Wiltshire Police and hope that this relationship can help identify victims of modern slavery and bring their exploiters to justice.”
If you suspect modern slavery or human trafficking taking place in your area, please report any suspicious incidents via 101 or our website. You can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline anonymously - 08000 121 700.