Vera Baird

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Human trafficking crackdown supported by Vera Baird

14th June 2017

Three men and two women have been sentenced for people trafficking into the UK for exploitation at a case heard today at Leeds Crown Court.

  • Robert Dolinski, 38 was sentenced to 3 years 2 months for 1 count of human trafficking and one of forced labour
  • Andrzej Laskowski, 37, was sentenced to 2 years 8 months for 1 count of human trafficking and one of forced labour
  • Kewin Laskowski, 19, was sentenced to 1 year for 1 count of  forced labour
  • Maria Pawloska, 34, was sentenced to 6 months for 1 count of fraud by misrepresentation
  • Agnieszka Laskowski, 37, was sentenced to 6 months for 1 count of fraud by misrepresentation.

It follows an operation carried out by officers on Tuesday, October 18, in which searches were carried out at five addresses in the Cowgate area of Newcastle. Three further addresses in Houghton-le-Spring and Consett were also searched. The operation brought together Northumbria Police and staff from Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham Local Authorities, National Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service, the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority, British Red Cross, Hope for Justice, NHS, Salvation Army, DWP and HMRC.

Fourteen victims were identified, who were then housed in safe locations and supported by specialists from partner agencies and Northumbria officers.

Superintendent Steve Barron said: “This investigation is the result of a successful collaboration between multiple agencies across the UK.  It is important that we work together with not only our partners but with the community. The reality is that modern day slavery is happening around us and we all have a role to play to help protect those who may be vulnerable.  Safeguarding is everyone’s business and as such we urge people to be the eyes and ears of the community. If you see something suspicious or something that doesn’t feel right then please report it to police. To those intent on exploiting others, we would like to send a message that Northumbria Police will not tolerate human trafficking and that we will take direct action against them.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird DBE QC, said: “We take human trafficking and exploitation very seriously. We all need to be vigilant in spotting the signs – so if something doesn’t seem right, the chances are it’s not. I will ensure Northumbria Police continues to be proactive in tackling this very important issue.”

Neil Wain, International Programme Director at anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, said: “Hope for Justice has worked very closely with Northumbria Police and other partners on this complex, intelligence-led case from its earliest stages, providing vital support to victims that contributed to achieving these successful convictions. Close partnership working is incredibly important to achieve justice and restoration for victims of modern slavery.”