Following a joint operation with colleagues from An Garda Síochána, officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, assisted by officers from the Armagh Neighbourhood Policing Team, conducted a proactive policing operation at a business premises in the Armagh area.

The operation was part of a European-wide focus on labour exploitation for the month of June, through the Europol-led EMPACT initiative. EMPACT, which stands for European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats, refers to an integrated approach by police forces across Europe to tackle the various elements of organised crime.

On Thursday 15th June, officers carried out a search of a business premises in the city, in relation to potential offences regarding forced labour. Three people were screened with further referrals to be made to partner agencies in due course. The screening process includes conversing with highly trained officers to discuss their working environment.

Detective Sergeant Kelly Hyslop said: “Across Europe, police forces and other key stakeholders are targeting businesses and other premises which may be facilitating individuals who are being exploited.

“Working closely with our colleagues from An Garda Síochána and other partner agencies, we are able to identify business premises that may be involved in forced labour. Modern slavery denies victims their human right to life, safety and freedom. The criminals prey on vulnerable people, control them by fear and exploit them for their own selfish gains.

“We would urge people to help stop this unacceptable crime and contact us with any suspicions that they may have by calling 999 if it’s an emergency, 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

The signs of modern slavery are:
Movement of persons at strange times
Foreign nationals (workers not integrating)
Oblivious control (person speaking /translating for victim)
Poor living conditions (numerous occupants in single house)
Inappropriate clothing for place/conditions of work.
Seldom leave premises (accompanied by minder)
No documentation
Confused, frightened, distressed.

One call could end the misery for a victim who could be living next door to you.”