A Vietnamese businesswoman whose nail salon was raided by police says the ordeal has scared her customers away.
Phuong Nguyen, who uses the adopted name Lynn, runs Tring’s Nails 4 You salon on Western Road.
She says business has dropped dramatically since it was targeted as part of a police crackdown on human trafficking – though no evidence of the exploitative practice was found on her premises.
In total, nine people were arrested as part of the series of raids carried out across the county by officers as part of the nationwide anti-trafficking campaign, Operation Eagle, last October.
It was hoped the intelligence gathered would give an indication of the extent of the problems of human trafficking – defined as the exploitation of a human being by another for gain – and money-laundering in Herts as well as across the UK.
Though no further action was taken following the raid on her salon and upstairs flat on October 15, mother of three Lynn believes that her customers lost trust in her and her business has suffered as a result.
The 33-year-old, who was even arrested during the investigation but later released without charge, says she wants to remind customers that nothing untoward was discovered and that she is an honest businesswoman.
She said: “I haven’t done anything wrong – there were no charges. I am just concentrating on getting my customers back.
“Now, my image is not very good, but I am a single mum with children to look after. This has affected me and my business.”
The salon, on Western Road, employs one other member of staff and a trainee.
Set up by Lynn three years ago, the independent business offers a range of treatments including manicures and pedicures, gels and acrylics, and eyebrow shaping.
Lynn said: “Things have started to pick up again a little bit, but I just want my customers to know that no further action came of the raid, and I am still open for business.”