Anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice won the West Yorkshire Policing Award for Solving Problems with Partners on May 15th. The annual awards recognised exceptional performance within the police, under categories such as extraordinary public service, protection of vulnerable victims, crime investigation and bravery.
Hope for Justice CEO Ben Cooley said,
“It’s an honour to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we’re privileged to get to do that alongside West Yorkshire’s finest. We were delighted to be nominated beside other fantastic partnership projects and inspiring police officers.
Too many people are unaware that individuals still fall victim to human trafficking in the UK today. There is much to be done across our nation to bring an end to modern slavery, but the kind of partnership work being done in West Yorkshire should encourage abolitionists up and down the UK.
Working together – NGOs, police, government, key agencies and the Great British public – we will end slavery”.
A team from Hope for Justice including Director of UK Programmes, Allan Doherty, UK Legal Director, Phillipa Roberts, their Investigations Team Leader, Survivor Support Officer and three of the charity’s specialist Investigators shared the award for their work on Operation Tavernhouse with West Yorkshire Police officers DS Paul Simm and DC Joe Aspinall.
Operation Tavernhouse was a joint investigation between West Yorkshire police and Hope for Justice which led to the conviction of Janos Orsos and Ferenc Illes on trafficking charges in May 2014.
The pair were sentenced to 5 and 3 years in prison for masterminding a sophisticated scam in which their own countrymen were lured from across Hungary to work 60 hours a week for as little as £20. Their victims were forced to live in severely cramped multi-occupancy rooms within Dewsbury and left in fear of violence if they protested.
The Operation began in July 2013 after one victim, who had left West Yorkshire, made contact with Hope for Justice who in turn contacted West Yorkshire Police.
More victims soon came forward, and others were identified, helping officers to build a case which identified the principal suspects. Both suspects were arrested in connection with the operation towards the end of 2013. As the case progressed offences from as far back as 2011 were disclosed to officers who worked with the support of Hope for Justice to build a case.
The West Yorkshire Policing Awards evening took place on Friday 15th May at Carr Gate, Wakefield.