Three arrested for trafficking after woman 'living in cupboard' rescued in Llandudno
Three people have been arrested after investigators rescued a woman who claimed that she was forced to live in a cupboard by her alleged exploiters.
The men were arrested on suspicion of forced labour and human trafficking offences on 3 November.
A 36-year-old Bangladeshi national was arrested at an address in Llandudno, Conwy.
Two British men, aged 46 and 21, were arrested at addresses in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent.
The 21-year-old man was arrested at a lettings agency in the Hanley area of Stoke-on-Trent, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) said.
The three suspects have been interviewed and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
GLAA officers said they received reports which indicated that workers at a hotel in Llandudno were not being paid the national minimum wage, were expected to work long hours, and were not given access to contracts they were rushed into signing.
Officers visited the hotel with North Wales Police and HM Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage team in October.
Two female workers, both British nationals aged in their 30s, were interviewed and said that they were paid as little as £250 per month for up to 60 hours of work per week.
They claimed that they were told to lie about their working hours if asked and that two of the suspects who recruited them would frequently visit the hotel to check up on their work.
One of the potential victims added that she was forced to live in a cupboard with no washing facilities.
Both have been accepted into the government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to receive specialist support.
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “This is completely unacceptable and we hope this operation sends a clear message that we take a zero-tolerance approach to this type of suspected criminality.
“We are also pleased that both of the potential victims we identified and safeguarded last month will now have brighter futures as a result of this activity. They have been removed from any possible danger and are beginning the long road to recovery."
He added: “Our investigations are ongoing and searches of the addresses have unearthed other valuable lines of enquiry including substantial amounts of money which we are in the process of investigating further.”