After 15 suspected victims of slavery, including a child, were identified in a police raid, a West Midlands factory was shut down. The factory in Anne Road, Smethwick, in the West Midlands, was shut down on Wednesday after reports of labor exploitation and trafficking by police with a modern slavery warrant.
West Midlands Police interviewed about 60 workers at the factory together with Sandwell Council to see if they were being exploited. Officers identified 15 people, including one child, who they suspect were being exploited. The child has been in the care of the Children’s Services of the council since the raid, while the police are trying to determine their age and identify their parent or guardian.
The child has been in the care of the Children’s Services of the council since the raid, while the police are trying to set their age and identify their parent or guardian. For each worker, the owners of the factory could now face a fine of up to £20,000, in total £300,000. They also arrested ten people on immigration issues, said a spokesman for the West Midlands Police.
Five have since been bailed and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deals with the remaining five. A spokesman for West Midlands Polcie said the force could not comment further as HMRC is now directing the investigation. It was also found that the factory was using electricity from the grid.
Inspector Colin Gallier, from West Midlands Police’s Sandwell Neighbourhood Team, said: ‘As a result of the hard work and ultimately the important information that has come from members of the public, we have successfully shut the business down indefinitely.’
Sandwell Council said: ‘Working together with partner organisations on operations like this is essential for tackling modern slavery and human trafficking.’