NAIL bars, hand car washes and construction sites have been visited by police as part of a crackdown on modern slavery and human trafficking.

Emergency services teamed up with immigration officials and housing authorities as part of Operation Aidant.

More than 21 nail salons and car washes were inspected by officials, with the Health and Safety Executive issuing seven prohibition notices at three car washes in York and Malton.

Teams also visited construction sites and agricultural businesses to make sure companies were complying with policies and keeping staff safe.

Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, North Yorkshire Police’s lead for safeguarding said: “We know there are many men, women and children who are suffering at the hands of criminals.

“These victims are being forced into situations which cause them distress and harm.

“The nature of these crimes means that victims are hidden and controlled so it can be hard to spot or recognise, particularly for victims of sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude.”

The week of action, which took place from May 14 to 20, aimed to help vulnerable workers, build relationships with businesses and gather information and intelligence to be used in future operations.

Officers also visited two construction sites in York as part of the operation to look at the working conditions of security guards on site and found concerning working practices, which were recorded and reported back to the relevant agencies to be followed up.

The roads policing group stopped and searched 14 wagons and the rural policing team visited more than 30 farming businesses. North Yorkshire Fire Service also carried out 17 compliance visits at buildings in Harrogate, Scarborough, York, and Selby.

Human trafficking involves moving individuals so that they can be exploited while victims of modern slavery are people viewed as a commodity to be traded or exploited. This may be for criminal activities, forced labour, domestic service or sexual exploitation.

Victims may have had their travel documents taken from them and might have signs of physical neglect or psychological abuse. They may also have few possessions and wear the same clothes every day, including items that are unsuitable for work.

Police are urging residents who suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking to report it to them on 101, or to phone the modern slavery helpline on 08000121700 or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.