Lincolnshire businesses to be warned about modern slavery

Modern day slavery.
Modern day slavery.

A senior manager who was threatened by traffickers after exposing slavery in his factory will be the keynote speaker at an event aimed at helping businesses protect themselves from the risks of modern slavery.

Shayne Tyler, head of operations for a leading Lincolnshire fresh produce supplier, will tell his story to delegates at the event – Modern Slavery: How to Protect your Business.

The event, organised and hosted by Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, is designed to help business spot the signs of, and combat, modern slavery.

Businesses who unwittingly use modern slaves in their workforce or supply chain can suffer from severe damage to their reputation, become entwined in criminal investigations and be the subject of charges or fines.

Mr Tyler will tell the delegates how in June 2000 he became aware of the scourge of modern slavery. BBC Panorama found the UK factory run by his then employer was unknowingly using more than 200 illegal workers.

Since then Mr Tyler has identified and tackled numerous examples of worker exploitation and actively helped shape legislation, guidance, best practice and support mechanisms for the prevention and eradication of worker abuse.

Other speakers at the event, to be held at the New Life Conference and Events Centre in Sleaford on May 24, include:

• Dave Walsh, Professor in Criminal Investigation at De Montfort University. Prof Walsh specializes in the teaching and research regarding criminal investigation and the policing of modern slavery. He is working with the police nationally and locally, along with policy makers, in the area of modern slavery.

• DCI Harry Dick - Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Coordinator for East Midlands

• Sgt Will Tharby – Lincolnshire Police, to talk about the Business Accreditation Scheme run by the Force

Eleven defendants were recently convicted of offences following a series of linked trials relating to modern slavery and fraud after a special operation by Lincolnshire Police.

The case was part of the force’s Operation Pottery investigation, which has been one of the largest investigations of its kind in the country.

“Human trafficking and modern slavery are amongst the most evil of crimes,” said Mr Jones

“To subject other human beings, children amongst them, to this level of degradation, cruelty and abuse is abhorrent and our communities must do everything we can to put an end to these horrific offenses.

“Often businesses can be an unwitting victims of the gang masters peddling this foul trade and they should be properly equipped to protect themselves.

“I hope this event can not only help them avoid the risks, but also teach them to spot and report the signs of modern slavery so we can continue our efforts to eradicate this crime from society.”

To register for the event go to www.eventbrite.co.uk

For more information contact Jon Grubb from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 07780 953575 or mjgrubb@btinternet.com