Factory shut down after 15 suspected SLAVES including child found

Police shut down factory after finding 15 suspected SLAVES including a child after reports of trafficked workers

  • Around 60 workers were interviewed by police at the factory, in Anne Road, Smethwick, in the West Midlands
  • Police closed the factory with modern slavery warrant on Wednesday
  • The factory’s owners now face a £300,000 fine, £20,000 for each worker 

A West Midlands factory has been shut down after 15 suspected victims of slavery, including a child, were identified in a police raid.     

The factory, in Anne Road, Smethwick, in the West Midlands, was closed down by police with a modern slavery warrant on Wednesday following reports of labour exploitation and trafficking.

Around 60 workers were interviewed by West Midlands Police together with Sandwell Council at the factory to check whether they were being exploited.

Factory owners suspected of keeping 15 workers in slavery including a child face a fine of up to £300,000

Officers identified 15 people they suspect were being exploited, including one child. 

Since the raid, the child has been in the care of the council’s Children’s Services, while police try to establish their age and identify their parent or guardian.

The factory’s owners could now face a fine of up to £20,000 for each worker, £300,000 in total. 

The factory, in Anne Road, Smethwick, in the West Midlands, was closed down by police last Wednesday with a modern slavery warrant following reports of labour exploitation and trafficking

They also arrested 10 people for immigration matters, a West Midlands Police spokesman said. 

Five have since been bailed, with the remaining five being dealt with by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

A West Midlands Polcie spokesperson said the force could not comment further as the investigation is now being directed by HMRC. 

Above: the site of the factory on St Anne’s Road, in Smethwick, Sandwell, in the West Midlands

The factory was also found to be using electricity diverted 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.’

HMRC has been contacted for comment.  

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