Trafficker jailed for eight years after confessing to modern slavery offences

July 7, 2023

A man has been jailed for eight years after confessing to trafficking two people into forced labour – with Justice and Care supporting the survivors to secure justice.

Marian Mustafa promised two Romanian men jobs in the UK, but then exploited them through deception, debt bondage and violence.

When they arrived in Britain, he took their ID documents, all of their bank cards and PIN numbers and stole their money. One survivor said he was kicked and subjected to regular verbal abuse from Mustafa, while the other man said he had been punched.

Mustafa, also from Romania, was arrested by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in July 2019 during an operation conducted with Cambridgeshire Police in Peterborough. He was charged in 2020, but fled to Romania and was arrested and remanded in custody upon his return in 2022.

The two survivors, now in their early 50s, were initially safeguarded by the GLAA, before a Justice and Care Victim Navigator began providing support, working with the survivors to engage with the criminal justice process.

When they were supported by the Navigator to attend court this week, this led to Mustafa pleading guilty to human trafficking, forced labour and exploitation.

He admitted charges under Section 1 and Section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act, of arranging or facilitating the travel of two individuals with a view to exploiting them, when he appeared before Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday.

Alongside a prison sentence of eight years, Mustafa was handed a slavery and trafficking prevention order (STPO) – an order that is applied where there is a risk that the defendant may commit another slavery or human trafficking offence and pose a risk of harm to the public in doing so. Under the STPO, Mustafa must live under various restrictions over the next 12 years.

Debi Lloyd, European Programme Manager at Justice and Care, said: ‘The two men in this case were put through horrific abuse and showed huge courage in working with the GLAA to secure justice. It is our privilege to help them to start rebuilding their lives.

‘We welcome this sentence and hope it sends a message to traffickers that they will be pursued.’

GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Jen Baines added: ‘We are incredibly proud to have brought this offender to justice and would like to thank all of the Officers and witnesses in the case, especially our incredibly brave victims. This is a fantastic sentence, demonstrating the serious nature of these offences.

‘Unfortunately, this type of control where workers are driven into and then controlled by debt is a common tactic employed by traffickers. Once in the UK, victims are often left in helpless situations, trapped trying to pay off sizeable debts with no way of escaping.’

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