Police visited seven houses of multiple occupancy across the city – some of them had hazards including dangerous electrics, unsafe stairs and no smoke alarms.
Police have identified two potential victims of modern-slavery in an operation in Stoke-on-Trent.
Seven houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) were visited across the city – including two in Hanley, two in Fenton, two in Shelton and one in Middleport.
Two women in their 20s, spoke with Brighter Futures Adult Sex Workers Service staff who ‘identified several support needs’.
The operation, carried out by Staffordshire Police’s specialist investigations, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Private Sector Housing Team, Immigration and Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, was part of the national Operation Aidant – which is investigation vulnerability, exploitation and modern day slavery.
A ‘significant’ range of hazards the properties were found during the operation by housing officers in , that the landlords will be required to fix.
- defective or no working smoke alarms
- rare fruiting bodies (fungus) growing from a roof
- no fire safety measures
- dangerous electrics unsafe stairs
- no heating in some rooms.
Detective Inspector Lindon Evans, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking affects every community in every area of the UK. Staffordshire Police works with a range of partners in the public, private and voluntary sector to identify and safeguard victims.
“The public plays a key role in helping to tackle modern slavery and labour exploitation. Suspicions should be reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline, local police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.”
Deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Abi Brown, said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking can have no place in our communities in Stoke-on-Trent.
“We are committed to working with partners to tackle this crime and safeguard our residents.”
Councillor Randy Conteh, the council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “Housing officers took part in this operation and found significant hazards in the properties they visited.
“Stoke-on-Trent residents should not have to suffer sub-standard housing conditions and the landlords of these properties must now carry out improvement works.”