1. ITV Report

Bath nail bar owner jailed for exploiting teenage workers

The pair were jailed for labour exploitation offences. Photo: Avon and Somerset Police

Three people have been sentenced for human trafficking and labour exploitation offences. It is after an investigation into working conditions in nail bars across the country.

It is believed to be the first successful prosecution in the UK for exploitation and enforced child labour under the 2015 Modern Slavery Act.

Officers from Avon and Somerset Police and Staffordshire Police unravelled the human trafficking operation which saw young Vietnamese teenagers forced to work without wages.

Two modern slaves, teenage Vietnamese girls were found to be working 60 hours a week, living in cramped conditions and were physically and verbally abused.

Thu Huong Nguyen, known as Jenny, who is from Bath, was found guilty of conspiring to arrange or facilitate the movement of people for labour exploitation and conspiring to require others to perform forced or compulsory labour following a trial. She was jailed for five years.

Thu Huong Nguyen was sentenced to five years in prison. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

In court, the judge called the defendants “devious and manipulative” and said they treated the victims as commodities and exploited them for “pure economic greed”.

The trafficking investigation involved five police forces and the National Crime Agency and began after Avon and Somerset officers visited Nail Deluxe in Westgate Street, Bath, in February 2016, a premises run by Jenny Nguyen.

A search of Jenny’s home in Southdown Road resulted in £60,000 in cash being found concealed inside a stuffed toy.

The nail bar has now been rebranded, with a new name and new owners not connected to today's proceedings.

Viet Hoang Nguyen was sentenced to four years years in prison. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Today marks the conclusion of a desperately sad case in which young vulnerable girls were forced to work in nail bars across the country as part of a sophisticated money-making operation.

Two teenage victims were safeguarded following the warrant carried out on Nail Deluxe in Bath and a further two were located at a nail bar in Burton-on-Trent.

These victims have had traumatic childhoods and were treated by traffickers as commodities - forced to live and work in unsuitable conditions, with little or no pay, and enduring both physical and verbal abuse.

We’re pleased with the custodial sentences given out today and hope this case acts as a stark reminder of how modern slavery victims are working and living in plain sight.

– DI Charlotte Tucker, Avon and Somerset Police

Detectives said the investigation had been extremely challenging and was thought to be the first child labour exploitation case and first Vietnamese nail bar trafficking and slavery case in the UK.

These victims were being exploited and the speed with which they were moved around the country indicates the level of organisation here.

This is the first successful prosecution for child labour exploitation and child trafficking under the Modern Slavery Act and we hope it sends out a clear message – we won’t tolerate this activity and we will bring offenders before the courts.

– DI Clair Langley, Staffordshire Police

If you think you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking or slavery call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.