Exploitation of vulnerable workers will not be tolerated, says CPS

Mohammed Rafiq.
Mohammed Rafiq.

The conviction of human trafficker Mohammed Rafiq shows that the exploitation of vulnerable workers will not be tolerated, says the Crown Prosecution Service.

Rafiq was found guilty of conspiracy to traffic at Leeds Crown Court on January 20.

An investigation into his company Kozee Sleep, based in Dewsbury, began after Hungarians Janos Orsos and Ferenc Illes were arrested over human trafficking.

Large numbers of their fellow countrymen were employed at Rafiq’s Kozee Sleep factory, supplied by Orsos.

Rafiq, 60, of Thorncliffe Road, Staincliffe, was jailed for 27 months.

Gavin Hotchkiss, of the CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “Large numbers of Hungarian men were employed by Rafiq at his Kozee Sleep and Layzee Beds factories.

“Rafiq was aware of the circumstances of the Hungarian nationals who were working at his factories and were exploited as a slave workforce.

“This defendant was part of a persistent and heartless campaign of exploitation involving many Hungarian men over a prolonged period of time.

“These men were vulnerable and desperate for work; they were promised good wages and accommodation.”

Mr Hotchkiss said the employees worked for up to 20 hours a day, five to seven days a week, for little or no wages.

He added: “Once in the UK they faced a very different reality, living in shared, squalid and grossly overcrowded accommodation, some of which was provided by Rafiq.

“The money they earned was passed to the trafficking gang, who then handed over minimal amounts to the victims.

“The sentence handed down today is a clear warning that the exploitation of vulnerable workers will not be tolerated.”