A man and a woman, who smuggled four people into the UK from France, have started a combined 6 years prison sentence for their crimes.
They were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court after being found guilty of trafficking three adults and a child from Calais to Dover.
· Didier Andre Robert Devos, 36 and unemployed of no fixed abode in France. He was given 4 years jail.
· Sandra Mirelle Evelyn Vienot, 28 of Grande-Synthe, Dunkerque, in northern France was given 2 years jail.
On Monday 30 June 2014 just after 4pm a French registered Renault was intercepted at Dover Eastern Docks. The male driver and his female passenger had just arrived on a Calais to Dover ferry. They claimed to be visiting the local area and would be returning to France later that evening.
When border officers based at Dover Eastern Docks searched the car they found two men, a woman and a child in the boot. They all indicated that they were from Afghanistan. The four illegal entrants were transferred to the Dover Asylum Screening Centre (DASC) at Dover Eastern Docks where it was confirmed that three of the nationals were from the same family - 28 year old mother, 30 year old father and seven year old daughter. The other man was 55.
"The highly organised smuggling of people through countries is a despicable crime where the offenders prey on desperate people who are often transported in shocking and dangerous conditions. Both Devos and Vienot, like others who trade in human misery, were driven by financial greed and had no regard for human life. This was apparent by the poor condition that their victims were in when they were discovered in the pair’s car boot. People were disposable to them. In bringing these two to justice we have disrupted, if not dismantled, one more illegal enterprise and hopefully saved other potential victims from inevitable suffering. We've also sent a clear message to current and would be people smugglers that we will find you and bring you before the courts no matter who you are or where you're from."
– Frontier Crime Unit Detective Constable, Matthew Whitlock
A three day campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking is underway in Chatham. Campaigner Melissa Nelson says it's a growing problem in the Medway Towns, and is urging people to look out for warning signs that it could be happening in homes near them.
VIDEO: He used witchcraft to terrify his young victims, and lure them into the sex trade. Today, Oswaya Osallasee from Kent was jailed for 20 years for trafficking, rape, and sex with a child. From Canterbury Crown Court, Derek Johnson reports.
He used black magic - keeping his young victims prisoner - and scaring them into silence. Today, though, a man from Kent was jailed for forcing children into prostitution.
Police told Meridian this afternoon that the scale of Osezua Osolase's trafficking was only just becoming apparent - and that dozens of girls could have suffered at his hands.
Police believe Osezua Osolase from Kent may have forced as many as 28 girls into prostitution by masterminding a sex trafficking ring involving flights to Europe, false passports and African Ju Ju magic.
Former security guard Osolase was convicted by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court of trafficking and also of rape and sexual assault of teenage girls from Nigeria. He will be sentenced on Monday October 29. A senior detective described him as ''evil.''
Two people arrested following an investigation into the alleged exploitation of Lithuanian workers have been released on police bail, as enquiries continue.
The 52-year-old man and a woman aged 50 from the Maidstone area were arrested at a property in the town on Friday.
Allegations had been made that workers were being forced to live in squalid conditions and threatened with violence if they did not comply with their supervisor’s instructions.
At least 29 men were identified as potentially being victims of human trafficking and they were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) - a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking.
These arrests form part of an extensive investigation and follows on from reports received that migrant workers have been made to live in poor conditions and forced to work in an environment that gave little or no regard to their safety or general wellbeing.
"By working with our partner agencies we have been able to make these arrests and workers will now be offered help and support.
"Anyone found to be committing exploitation offences will be investigated fully and brought before the courts."