A 73-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested for controlling and managing a brothel in Trowbridge as part of a human trafficking crackdown operation by police.

The man’s arrest, at Images Massage Parlour in Fore Street, comes after Wiltshire Police visited 20 local businesses across the county along with the UK Border Force, Immigration Authority, HM Revenue and Customs and the Housing and Social Services teams for Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council.

Thirteen other people were arrested for immigration offences during the crackdown on Wednesday and Thursday.

Two men aged 21 and 24 were arrested at Easy Clean Car Wash, Woodstock Road, Warminster, and a 25-year-old man and 26-year-old woman were arrested at Apples Nails and Beauty, in Market Place, Warminster.

Five men, aged 18 to 37, were arrested at Megan Nails, in Fleet Street, Swindon, and a 28-year-old man was arrested at American Fashion Nails, in Commercial Road, Swindon.

A further two men, both aged 24, were arrested at Hand Car Wash, Bridge End Road, Swindon.

A 21-year-old man was also arrested at Luxury Nails, Minster Street, Salisbury.

Detective sergeant Chris Hitchcock, from the Wiltshire Intelligence Unit, said: “The main reason for this action was to identify whether there were any vulnerable people being exploited in our communities.

“Thankfully Wiltshire doesn’t have a high proportion of human trafficking/modern slavery.

“However, this is an emerging threat in our communities and the picture is constantly changing, that’s why we have to be proactive, build up our intelligence of what is happening and work with our partners accordingly.

“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society and this is all part of that commitment.

“We’ve focused our efforts on visiting the types of businesses where, sadly, human trafficking and other types of exploitation have been known to take place.

“These include hand car washes and nail bars, although I must stress that exploitation doesn’t just happen in these types of establishments and there are many perfectly legitimate businesses that treat their workers well.

“Whilst carrying out our visits we have encountered a number of workers who don’t have the correct documentation to live and work in the UK.

“As is standard practice we have arrested these individuals and they will be passed over to the Immigration Authority who will deal with them appropriately.

“Business owners found to employ illegal workers are potentially liable for fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal employee within their business.

“The Immigration Authority is responsible for pursuing these fines. It is the responsibility of business owners to check whether their employees have entitlement to work in the UK.”