Human trafficking arrests - police statement

Two people arrested following an investigation into the alleged exploitation of Lithuanian workers have been released on police bail, as enquiries continue.

The 52-year-old man and a woman aged 50 from the Maidstone area were arrested at a property in the town on Friday.

Allegations had been made that workers were being forced to live in squalid conditions and threatened with violence if they did not comply with their supervisor’s instructions.

At least 29 men were identified as potentially being victims of human trafficking and they were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) - a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking.

These arrests form part of an extensive investigation and follows on from reports received that migrant workers have been made to live in poor conditions and forced to work in an environment that gave little or no regard to their safety or general wellbeing.

"By working with our partner agencies we have been able to make these arrests and workers will now be offered help and support.

"Anyone found to be committing exploitation offences will be investigated fully and brought before the courts."

– Det Insp Keith Roberts