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Monday, 25 January 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Rogue Bradford firms will be using slave labour, warns people trafficking investigator

Human trafficking investigator Allan Doherty

EXCLUSIVE: Rogue Bradford firms will be using slave labour, warns people trafficking investigator

A HUMAN trafficking investigator has issued a stark warning that many small businesses in Bradford will be employing slave labour.
Former Bradford police chief Allan Doherty said that employers in the food processing industry in particular needed to "clean up their act" to avoid vulnerable workers being exploited.
Mr Doherty was speaking after a factory owner, who employed large numbers of Hungarians as a "slave workforce" in a bed-making firm, was found guilty of people trafficking.
Mohammed Rafiq, 60, of Staincliffe, Dewsbury, is believed to be the first company boss in the UK to be convicted of human trafficking offences. He will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court next month.
Mr Doherty, a former chief superintendent and divisional commander of Airedale and North Bradford Police - who helped to investigate the case while working for the anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, said the rogue bed company boss was not unique.
"I am 100 per cent sure that other companies are employing similar dodgy tactics," he said.
"There are no ifs and buts about it, it will be happening in Bradford. We were investigating a lot of other companies in Bradford."
"Businesses in Bradford need to use this case as a wake up call. They need to clean up their act and not turn a blind eye to this issue. They need to make sure they are employing proper workers and not modern day slaves."
Mr Doherty, who now works as a modern slavery consultant with a team of investigators, claimed a lot of small businesses in Bradford would be "full of people like this, working for slave labour wages".
He said he was not aware of any companies in Bradford being prosecuted.
But he added: "We have sat and watched premises where modern day slave workers are employed around food processing in the Bradford district."
Mr Doherty said Home Office research found that only ten per cent of slave labour victims were identified.
He said the bed company had gone out of business and 180 jobs had been lost.
"If you get caught in this type of enterprise, everybody loses their jobs and the local economy suffers, before you think about the impact on individuals in the case."

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