Two people have been arrested as part of a West Midlands Police investigation into the exploitation of Eastern European workers.
Officers carried out raids at three restaurants across the region after acting on information which suggested staff were being brought into the UK and used as cheap labour.
Modern slavery warrants were executed simultaneously at Ming Moon in Wolverhampton, Wing Wah in Coventry and Red Leaf in West Bromwich on Tuesday morning. An associated address in Handsworth was also raided.
A total of 20 men, mainly from Slovakia and Romania and living in poor conditions, have been taken to a reception centre where they will be given the opportunity to speak to specially trained officers.
A 49-year-old man and woman aged 45, both Slovakian, have been arrested on suspicion of slavery offences by providing staff through a recruitment consultancy. Further investigations are being carried out.
Chief inspector Sally Simpson, from West Midlands Police's public protection unit, said: "Unfortunately we hear all too often of cruel individuals making large sums of money on the back of the misery of others. These ‘gang masters' promise a job, accommodation and money; but people end up working long hours, living in poor conditions and being paid next to nothing.
"We need the public to help us stop such exploitation and report anything suspicious; which can help us take firm and decisive action such as this operation today. There are some tell-tale signs to look out for such as large groups staying in multi-occupancy houses and being transported to and from addresses in vans or minibuses from early in the morning and not coming back until late at night."
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