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Week of action against modern slavery

Police forces in the North West are joining a national week of action against modern slavery and human trafficking.

Officers will be carrying out educational visits to businesses that employ a large number of foreign workers and raising awareness of what they say is a growing problem.

Lancashire police say they have made 25 arrests linked to trafficking and slavery over the past 5 years. Over the past year, they have seen 32 referrals of vulnerable adults and children who were identified as potential victims or at risk.

"It is a complex area of policing and identifying it can be difficult, but we are already making progress in Lancashire.

"Only last month we became the first force in England and Wales to obtain an Interim Slavery and Trafficking Order against a man in Nelson.

"In June and July we executed warrants in Blackburn and Preston in which three Romanian women were found to be the victims of slavery and trafficking and are now being supported in their home country, with those arrested and charged awaiting further court proceedings."

– Detective Superintendent Sue Cawley, Lancashire Police

As well as the public awareness campaign this week, Lancashire Police say they will be raising awareness among officers and carrying out refresher training.

Manchester human traffickers jailed - sold woman for £3,500

Bartolomej Sivak and Rana Yousaf were both jailed for their parts in trafficking a Hungarian girl to Manchester Credit: Home Office

Two men at the centre of a plan to traffic a Hungarian woman to the UK and sell her into marriage have been jailed.

The 22-year-old Hungarian woman responded to a website job vacancy for a babysitter in London in 2013 and was offered the post in a telephone interview. However, on arrival in Budapest to travel to London she was met from the train by three men, told that she could not use her mobile phone and was driven to Slovakia.

Her traffickers used threats and intimidation throughout the three week ordeal to ensure she remained compliant, including when she was brought into the UK by coach and taken to Manchester.

Once here, she was ‘bought’ by a Pakistani man for £3,500 and told they were to marry. She was held at several addresses in Gorton, Longsight, Levenshulme and Chorley.

It was at a house in Cunliffe Street, Chorley, that the victim was finally able to alert the police after she was left alone for a short period. Officers were then able to rescue her.

Today at Preston Crown Court, Slovakian Bartolomej Sivak, 58, and Rana Yousaf, a 27-year-old Pakistani national, were jailed for four years and two months and 20 months respectively. Sivak organised the criminal operation with Yousaf acting as a go between for the groom and Sivak. He also assisted in moving the victim between different addresses and keeping her there.

This is an appalling case where a vulnerable woman was brought to the UK on false pretences and held against her will for several weeks. It was the criminals’ intention for her to marry a Pakistani man to help him extend his stay in the UK.

Thanks to the victim’s detailed account of her ordeal we were able to gather overwhelming evidence against Sivak and Yousaf which helped put them behind bars where they belong.

– Home Office criminal investigator Mark Jacobs
Waqas Younus is wanted in relation to the investigation Credit: Home Office

Following today’s sentencing, investigators have released a photograph of another man wanted in relation to the investigation. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Pakistani national Waqas Younus, 27, can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visithttp://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

The victim has been safely returned to her family in Hungary. Two other women who are believed to be victims of Sivak’s group have been repatriated to Slovakia.

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