Hope for Justice has been praised by a UK Crown Court judge for its assistance in the apprehension and conviction of a trafficker who is the first ever to be sentenced for breaching a slavery risk order.
The trafficker received a 42-month prison sentence, reduced because of a guilty plea, for breaching the interim slavery and trafficking risk order just weeks after it was imposed on him. These new types of anti-slavery measures were introduced under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
In her sentencing remarks at Birmingham Crown Court, Her Honour Judge Stacey said: “I wish to praise and record formally the work of the charity Hope for Justice as well as all the hard work of the police and their legal team. I will recommend the organisation Hope for Justice for a High Sherriff’s award.”
Hope for Justice International Programme Director, Neil Wain, former Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police, said: “We are glad to have been able to provide information that assisted in the apprehension and conviction of this man for trafficking offences. The judge noted how the police investigation found evidence that this trafficker and others in his organisation held vulnerable individuals in servitude, providing barely enough food and shockingly squalid accommodation, holding their identity documents and controlling their employment and wages.
“The judge described it bluntly as a ‘slave driving operation’. Our mission is to bring an end to modern slavery by rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society, and this case shows exactly how we are doing that.”
Hope for Justice team leader for the West Midlands Hub, Gary Booth, added: “The judge in this case was right to highlight the continuing scourge of modern slavery across our communities, but we were happy to have been able to assist the victims in this case and to have the hard work by the team here and at West Midlands Police recognised by the judge.”
The Court ordered that £50 be paid to Hope for Justice – specifically the West Midlands Hub – “as compensation for expenses, exertions and loss of time in or towards the said apprehension”.
The judge’s sentencing remarks also noted: “Almost exactly 210 years ago, 25 March 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 was passed. It is therefore 10 years since the bi-centennial commemorations event took place across the country to celebrate the progress of human rights and decency over profit and the outlawing of one of the most pernicious forms of human misery – slavery and human trafficking. Today, however the Home Office estimates that there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of the terrible crime of modern slavery in the UK and its eradication is a priority.”
Hope for Justice’s West Midlands Hub works closely with West Midlands Police to bring an end to modern slavery in the region.