Home Office targets nail bars in crackdown on ‘barbaric’ modern slavery
Around 100 people working in nail bars have been arrested as part of a government bid to clamp down on the “barbaric crime” of modern slavery.
Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said a week-long operation saw 97 people held, 68 businesses warned they could face fines and 14 people identified as potentially at risk of modern slavery.
Investigators targeted more than 280 nail bars in the Government’s Operation Magnify drive targeting “risk” industries.
The majority of the people arrested were Vietnamese nationals, the Home Office said. There were also people from China, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Mongolia and Ghana.
Those who were at identified as potential victims of trafficking will be offered support. People with no right to be in Britain will be removed.
Mr Goodwill said the operation sends a “strong message to those employers who ruthlessly seek to exploit vulnerable people and wilfully abuse our immigration laws”.
“Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.
Immigration officers visited the nail bars across the UK between 27 November and 3 December.
Some 68 businesses were warned that they will pay £20,000 per illegal working if they cannot prove they carried out right-to-work background and document checks.
Operation Magnify has also focused on the construction, care, cleaning, catering, taxi and car wash industries during 2016.
Prime Minister Theresa May in July pledged to bring an end to modern slavery, which she branded the “great human rights issue of our time”.
She announced a new Cabinet taskforce alongside £33.5m of funding to work with other countries to bear down on the crime.
The initiative came a year after the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act under her auspices as Home Secretary.