Friday links: Raids in Hertfordshire, convictions in Leeds, and did slaves help make your kitchen worktops?

Every Friday we share the latest news on modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. Keep up to date by following us on twitter (@theclewer), where we will tweet out the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Thirteen men arrested for slavery and immigration offences after raids

Raids in the Hertfordshire town of Baldock and in Barnet in London resulted in thirteen men being arrested for slavery and immigration offences. Six men were also identified as potential victims of slavery and were taken to a reception centre for further support. 

Det Insp Luke Whinnett said: “This operation shows that partnership commitment as different agencies have come together, acting on intelligence that we have received. Slavery and trafficking does occur in Hertfordshire and I would encourage people to look out for the signs and report any concerns they have to police.”

Top UK retailers pull granite worktops from shops over Indian slavery fears

John Lewis and Habitat both pulled granite workshops from their shelves after slavery was found in the supply chains in quarries in India. This comes in the same week as a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) suggests that 34% of organisations are failing to outline how they are preventing modern slavery in their supply chains. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses turning over more than £36m to provide a statement of how they are preventing modern slavery, but the same survey found that 37% of supply chain managers haven't even read the government guidance on modern slavery. 

More than half of labourers mining granite in these states for tiles, fireplaces and kitchen counters around the world are working in dangerous conditions to repay huge loans - leaving them trapped in a cycle of debt bondage - according to the ICN.

SAFE FROM HARM: A CHURCH’S ROLE IN SHELTERING VICTIMS OF MODERN SLAVERY

On our blog you can read the full story of how a church in Lincoln became caught up in the case against the Rooney family, who were convicted in August of modern slavery offences. The church sheltered several victims in their homeless shelter, which became a target for recruitment by the Rooneys. 

Revd Jeremy found himself facing the problem head on, as recruiters for the Rooneys began targeting the day centre. The volunteers saw them off, and soon discovered that they had moved outside. It was a short walk from the day centre to the night shelter, and the volunteers were forced to escort their guests from one to the other to avoid the Rooneys’ white van.

'Cruel’ human trafficker forced woman to work as sex slave at Leeds bus station

A Hungarian woman was lured to the UK with the promise of work as a cleaner, only to be forced into prostitution in Leeds bus station. The perpetrator, Jozef Sztojka, has been sentenced to nine years in prison. Earlier in the week, Josephine Iyamu, a British national, was accused of trafficking women from Nigeria to Europe for sexual exploitation, she will appear in court on 22nd September. 

A judge who jailed Sztojka for nine years said: “It is impossible to imagine a more cruel way to behave to another human being.”

That's all from us this week! Make sure you're following us on twitter (@theclewer) to keep up with our latest news, or sign up to our newsletter

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash