Couple forced trafficked woman to cook, clean and provide childcare at Belfast home

A husband and wife forced a woman who was trafficked to the UK from Nigeria to cook, clean and provide childcare in their Belfast home with no direct payment.

John Izekor, 36, and his 29-year-old wife Precious Izekor, have been sentenced to two years in custody, suspended for two years, for requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

They had earlier pleaded guilty to the offence, which related to the period between 1 September 2016 and 30 September 2017.

Belfast Crown Court also made an order that the defendants pay £10,000 in compensation to the victim, who had been trafficked to the UK from Nigeria.

The case was the first ever prosecution for a forced labour offence in Northern Ireland under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.

Kirsten McKevitt from the Public Prosecution Service said: “This is the first ever prosecution for a forced labour offence in Northern Ireland under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.

“The victim was a vulnerable adult who was taken advantage of and forced to perform compulsory labour for the Izekors in their home.

"She cooked, cleaned, provided childcare, and received no direct payment, while her family in Nigeria was being paid a very small sum for the work."

She continued: “Human trafficking specialist prosecutors in the PPS Serious Crime Unit worked closely with the PSNI Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit in this complex international case. This close and early engagement enabled us to build a strong case.

"The strength of the evidence, which included the victim’s account, banking records and electronic evidence, resulted in the couple pleading guilty, saving the victim the ordeal of a trial."

Kirsten McKevitt said: “I want to commend the bravery of the victim in coming forward.

"We understand how daunting it can be for victims of such offences to report their experiences, but I would appeal to anyone who thinks they may be a victim in a similar situation to please come forward and inform police.

"They will be treated sensitively and with dignity in the investigation of crimes of this nature.“


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