Boston Magistrates’ Court approved the five-year order, which names three defendants, at a hearing today (Monday 16 May).
It was only the second such order to be imposed in Lincolnshire and only a week after the first one was issued, say police.
Two men, Thanh Son Tran, 58, and Jackie Tran, 19, and a woman, Thi Ngoc Bich Vo, 47, all of Skirbeck Road, Boston, must follow the conditions set out in the Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order or they face a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The order relates to UK Nails, in Emery Lane and Daisy’s Nail Spa, in Market Place, run by the defendants.
Inspector Fran Harrod of Lincolnshire Police said: “The message to our county is strong and clear. Slavery and trafficking will not be tolerated.
"This is a promising step forward in protecting vulnerable people from potential exploitation and a deterrent to anyone who thinks they are above the law. This is also an opportunity to highlight the issue. Sadly, exploitation happens here as it does across the UK, and we would encourage anyone who suspects that workers are being exploited to be their voice and report it.”
In charge of the investigation was Community Cohesion Officer Tamzin Hurley-Roe, who delivers multi-agency support and enforcement to increase cohesion and to protect such vulnerable people from harm and exploitation.
She commented on the result: “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and we are very grateful to our partners whose support and assistance was paramount to securing Lincolnshire’s second STRO. It’s a privilege to work together to make a difference for people and make our county a safer place for them.”
The STRO application was led by Lincolnshire Police with assistance from other organisations including the GLAA (Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority).
GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Dave Powell said: “We were pleased to support Lincolnshire Police with this application which helps protect some of the most vulnerable and hidden workers in society. Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders significantly reduce the risk of modern slavery or labour exploitation by providing additional safeguards to deter those who may commit such unlawful and harmful offences. They are a valuable tool for law enforcement in the fight against labour abuse and we will continue to use them with partners to protect our communities from harm.”
The order comes as a result of a wider piece of work in Lincolnshire. As well as the GLAA, Trading Standards and Immigration Enforcement also joined police in visits to high risk sector businesses such as car washes and nail bars to engage with potentially vulnerable workers. The work is also supported by Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.
PC Hurley-Roe described the two visits to UK Nails: “On both occasions we found individuals who couldn’t provide a convincing account of why they were there. These were vulnerable people with no money or ID, and no apparent way to fund their existence. They would be unlikely to ask authorities for assistance due to their immigration status.
"One woman was sleeping in rooms above the nail bar with an unconfirmed number of other people in unsuitable and unsafe conditions. The rooms above the nail bar were referred to Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and subsequently prohibited for any people to live or sleep there due to the risk to them in the event of a fire. A second woman was sleeping in another property owned by the defendants despite it being prohibited in 2018 by Boston Borough Council for numerous hazards.”
Daisy’s Nail Spa was also subject of a joint agency visit where an illegal worker was found.
PC Hurley-Roe explained: “No offences were disclosed to attending agencies however the risks of exploitation of the vulnerable people encountered led to the application for the order. This was an appropriate measure to safeguard future potentially vulnerable people and ensure the two businesses are operating correctly, paying and treating staff fairly.”
The court was satisfied that the defendants acted in a way which means that there is a risk they will commit a slavery or human trafficking offence and that the order was necessary for the purpose of protecting people from physical or psychological harm.
The order specifies that the three named defendants are prohibited from:
Renting or subletting any property for accommodation, save for immediate family. Arranging travel / transport of anyone to work, other than their immediate family. Employing or engaging any worker other than those who hold a national insurance number. Failing to keep written records of all workers and their national insurance numbers. Failing to provide Police with this written record immediately upon request. Retaining, possessing, or controlling any banking documentation, bank cards or bank books belonging to another. Contacting three specified individuals directly or indirectly.
In addition the defendants must ensure that all workers are provided with a wage slip, they must retain copies of wage slips for six months and upon request, provide wage slips to police.
The order will remain in place until May 15, 2027.
The STRO granted on Monday against the defendants follows last week’s news that Boston Magistrates’ Court approved a two-year order against Mohamed Hamza, of Gladstone Street, Peterborough, at a hearing on May 9.
The 31-year-old, who runs the M&H car wash on Enterprise Way in Pinchbeck, is banned from recruiting anyone who has no right to work in the UK. Hamza must pay at least the National Minimum Wage and provide wage slips to all his employees. He must keep written records of all employees and allow officers entry during trading hours to inspect conditions at the car wash and to speak to the workers. Hamza must inform the GLAA in writing and prior to any change of operating address for any car wash owned or controlled by him.