Modern slavery is going on in the towns and villages of South Holland and Boston, a press conference heard on Saturday.
The UK’s first independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner was in the area to discuss how to tackle the issue locally.
The Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, met with police, community representatives and councillors to discuss what could be done to challenge the problem.
Mr Hyland was joined by MP Matt Warman and Paul Broadbent, the chief executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Mr Hyland said: “It’s apparent that there may be cases of modern slavery happening here, in the supply chain in the food industry.
“The key of everything is the victims, and how we can support the victims and make sure the vulnerability stops and make sure they’re safe.
“Also, very importantly for me, is that we bring to justice those who are committing these crimes.
“We find the perpetrators, we prosecute them, we strip them of their assets, and under the new legislation we give some of those assets to the victims so they can rebuild their lives.”
The issue of modern slavery locally, particularly regarding the migrant workforce, has been highlighted recently following a report by the Latvian Community of Boston.
The group – also known as ‘Stronger Together’ – conducted a two-year survey and found 839 incidents in the Boston area, ranging from non-payment for work carried out, to a lack of statutory holiday pay.
Mr Hyland made it clear that he wanted to make help more accessible for victims of exploitation, including those who are trafficked or forced into prostitution.
Mr Warman said: “This is one of the personal priorities of the Prime Minister, so I think it’s great that we are having meetings like this locally.
“Hopefully we are going to be in a position to try to capitalise on that nationally as well.”
* The Modern Slavery helpline number is 0800 0121700, or visit www.modernslavery.co.uk