A former University of Southampton lecturer in Health Sciences has been arrested in a modern slavery probe by Hampshire Police.
It has been reported that former Health Sciences lecturer Pritpal Binning, 56, was arrested along with her husband, Palvinder, on suspicion of holding someone in their garden shed for over four years at their £1.2mn house in Chilworth, near Southampton. Contrary to national reports, Wessex Scene has been informed that Ms Binning is no longer an employee of the University and left in November 2017.
The man, a Polish national in his 40s, has told police that he had been forced to work for food, slept on a plastic sun lounger at the bottom of the couple’s garden, with no working toilet, and had a kitchen space comprising only a barbecue and fridge. Police were first alerted to the case when the man in question walked into an NHS walk-in centre and told staff of his working in exchange for food.
Officers for the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) raided the property following the report. According to The Daily Telegraph, GLAA senior investigating officer Tony Byrne said:
First and foremost, we are pleased that the man is now receiving the help and support he so desperately needs. In the 21st century, no-one should be forced to live in such degrading and disgusting conditions.
Following the two arrests we made, our investigation is ongoing as we examine and assess the evidence we collected from the property.
Mr Byrne also expressed appreciation for the NHS staff who raised the alarm:
I would also like to praise the NHS staff who reported their concerns. It’s really important that people get in touch if they believe someone is being exploited.
By contacting us, we can ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in society are protected and supported.
Wessex Scene contacted the University of Southampton regarding this story. It has been confirmed to us that Pritpal Binning left the University in November 2017 and as such, the University is ‘unable to comment’ further. According to The Daily Mail, Ms Binning joined the University in 1998. In a University news round-up in 2013, Ms Binning was commended for her Masters in Education pass rate.