Illegal Nigerian migrants working for nail salons in the United Kingdom have been arrested in a crackdown on nearly 100 people, MailOnline has reported.
Some 97 men and women were seized during a blitz on salons that employ non-EU citizens who do not have permission to be in Britain.
More than a dozen of those rounded up during a series of swoops were suspected of having been trafficked by organised gangs into modern slavery.
A total of 68 businesses were warned that they face fines of up to £20,000 for every illegal worker.
The majority of people arrested were Vietnamese. Others came from Mongolia, Ghana, China, Pakistan and India.
A spate of recent cases have also shown how Vietnamese gangs use nail salons as a convenient legal ‘front’ for their activities including prostitution and cannabis cultivation.
Ministers ordered the raids to send a message that the estimated 1.1million illegal immigrants will be tackled.
The raids under the Immigration Act were part of Operation Magnify, a cross-government drive to clamp down on illegal working by targeting specific ‘risk’ industries.
Building sites, care homes, takeaways and cleaning contractors have also been targeted.
Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.’
The week-long operation on 280 businesses, led by the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement, took place from November 27 to December 3.
Those who are potential victims of trafficking and slavery will be offered support. But anyone who has no right to be in Britain will be booted out, said the Home Office.
According to a UK Human Trafficking Centre report in 2013, some 90 per cent of immigrants trafficked to Britain and then forced into cannabis cultivation were from Vietnam.
Many arrive with the promise of a job in a nail salon.
In the five years to 2013, more than 90 nail salons across England and Wales, owned by people with Vietnamese names, were fined nearly £700,000 for employing illegal immigrants.
The Immigration Act was introduced earlier this year to make it easier to prosecute a boss who knows, or ‘reasonably suspects’, that their employee has no right to work in Britain.