Specialist Policing Consultancy Director Bernie Gravett was invited to present to delagates at the International Security Expo held at Olympia Exhibition Centre London. The presentation to delegates was to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery to the security and business sectors. The information provided concerning the horrors of human trafficking shocked some delegates who were unaware of the levels to which organised crime groups go to control their victims.
Human trafficking is a business, similar to many legitimate enterprises in terms of structure. OCGs recruit transport, house and manage workforces. They do it for financial gain. However, this is where legitimate businesses and traffickers diverge. Traffickers are greedy, they use force, fear, coercion to control their victims. In the case of Kozee Sleep bed and matress manufactureres in 2016, Mohammed Rafiq employed large numbers of Hungarian men as a "slave workforce" at the now defunct Kozee Sleep in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
At the trial Leeds Crown Court heard how staff at Kozee Sleep were paid as little as £10 a week for 16 hours work a day. The traffickers' victims survived on scraps of food, with up to 42 men living in a two-bedroom house, Rafiq's trial heard. Rafiq's conviction follows that of Hungarian men Ferenc Illes and Janos Orsos, who were jailed last year after being found guilty of supplying Kozee Sleep with slave labour.
Members of similar companies were in the audiance and it hit home that they need to conduct due dilligence in their supply chains and that the problem of human trafficking and exploitation is often very close to home.