A slave workforce was rescued by Hope for Justice in a daring mission in West Yorkshire. The freed men were forced to work long hours for little pay, living in appalling conditions…
In a highly secret mission, they put the factory under surveillance and made tentative contact with some of the Hungarian workers. The Hope For Justice was tipped off about a suspected trafficking ring centred on the bed-making firm Kozee Sleep in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire… After much coaxing, they identified a house in Bradford, where the men were being held captive. And in a clandestine operation in the early hours, an undercover worker for the charity who was leading the operation gave the order to move in. The men were just some of scores of vulnerable Hungarian immigrants who have been lured to this country with the promise of well-paid work. But in reality this is a shameful tale of people trafficking and slavery.
After the rescue, it was learned that the men had been trapped in lives of slavery. The mission was carried out by a group of former policemen and soldiers working for this organization with the goal of ending human trafficking. The Hope for Justice worked for weeks doing detective work and extensive planning, and finally became determined to free the group. Some of the victims had their passports taken away by their captors and were put to work constructing beds. Mohammed Rafiq, 60, is the owner of a business called Kozee Sleep. He became the first convicted of human trafficking. The police had been informed of the operation, and learned later that the men had been trafficked to Britain by slave-masters who were making illegal profit by selling the men to a local furniture maker.
One of the victims, a Hungarian, explained how he was lured from the poverty of his homeland by the promise of a well-paid factory job but instead was held captive in Britain with veiled threats that his family would be harmed if he left. Though he was promised £1,000 a month, he earned less than £2 a day.
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