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#AceBreakingNews – Five defendants were arrested following an investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
Five people suspected of recruiting and exploiting vulnerable Indian students to work in Welsh care home have been handed slavery and trafficking risk orders by a court.
- 22:31, 6 FEB 2023
- Updated22:56, 6 FEB 2023
The defendants are originally from the state of Kerala in India and have links to care homes in Abergele, Pwllheli, Llandudno, and Colwyn Bay, either by working there themselves or having a direct link to someone who works in them. Two of the defendants, a husband and wife, also supplied workers through a recruitment agency.
The five defendants were arrested following an investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) which said tackling the exploitation of workers in care homes is one of its top priorities.
Mold Magistrates Court heard concerns had been raised about appearance of more than 50 of Indian students who always appeared to be hungry at work and who were not being paid correctly or were having wages withheld.
Husband and wife Mathew Issac, aged 32, and Jinu Cherian, aged 30, both of Cae Eithin, Abergele; Eldhose Cherian, aged 25, of Abererch Road, Pwllheli; Eldhose Kuriachan, aged 25, of Abererch Road, Pwllheli; and 47-year-old Jacob Liju of Lon Ceredigion, Pwllheli, were all made the subjects of indefinite slavery orders. The GLAA said criminal charges have not so far been brought but inquiries are ongoing.
The orders impose a series of prohibitions on the defendants including banning them from attempting to contact complainants and witnesses; from arranging travel for anyone other than for themselves or their immediate family; and from renting or subletting any property or rooms to anyone other than immediate family members. They are also banned from coercing, instructing or engaging anyone else to carry out any of the prohibited actions on their behalf. Breaching a slavery and trafficking order is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison
Speaking after the orders were granted, GLAA senior investigating officer Martin Plimmer said:
” We are all aware that staffing levels have been a cause concern in the care sector for some time, and have not been helped by the Covid pandemic. Unfortunately, where labour shortages exist, there is an increased risk of opportunists using the situation for their own financial gain, usually at the expense of workers that they are exploiting.
“Tackling the exploitation of workers in care homes is one of the GLAA’s top priorities, and this order is crucial in restricting the activities of those we suspect would otherwise commit slavery or trafficking offences. Through our investigations, we have concluded that such an order is proportionate to protect further workers from being potentially exploited and abused.”
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