A man is appearing in court today facing charges in connection with slavery.
29-year-old Lydrunas Zdanevicius, one of three men arrested by police, has been charged with two counts of knowingly holding another person in slavery or servitude. This follows a number of raids by police across Hampshire yesterday following reports of forced labour, where 13 people where rescued and taken to secure locations. Zdanevicius is a Lithuanian national.
The other two men arrested, aged 22 and 31, have been bailed until June 30th pending further enquiries. Detective Inspector Phil Scrase told the Daily Echo:
“Police in Southampton have responded to reports of individuals working as forced labour robustly. This should send a clear message that this activity will not be tolerated and both the police and wider agency partners will take action to protect vulnerable people and bring offenders to justice. Anyone who feels they are being exploited or has knowledge of this should feel confident in coming forward to the police or other agencies.”
Police are urging anyone with information to contact them anonymously on 101, or on 999 in an emergency.