East Midlands gang charged with exploiting east Europeans for cheap labour

Thirteen people have been charged in connection with Operation Ruby, a large-scale investigation into human trafficking in the East Midlands.

The probe has been looking into the trafficking of eastern Europeans who were being used to pick leeks in south Lincolnshire.

The offences include conspiracy in respect of people trafficking for exploitation and money laundering.

The charges have been made a year after arrests took place in the East Midlands region - when more than 200 staff from organisations including the East Midlands Foreign National Crime Team (EMFNCT), the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and Northamptonshire Police helped close ranks on a field near Holbeach.

Some 60 migrant workers who were being exploited as cheap labour in fields by an organised crime group were taken to Kettering as potential witnesses and victims.

The 13 are accused of trafficking of people to and within the UK from Slovakia, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

It is alleged that monies totalling up to £10m have been laundered through various companies set up for concealing this activity.

The EMFNCT said it was committed to identifying victims of trafficking and their care was of paramount importance in any investigation.

The team is cracking down on criminals involved in trafficking and the organisations behind them, taking away their freedom and their assets.

Those charged are all due to appear at Wellingborough magistrates court in Northamptonshire on 15 and 22 December.

 

THOSE CHARGED

  • A 50-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman from Kettering.
  • Four Indian men aged 51, 29, 26 and 23 from Kettering.
  • A 49-year-old man from Coventry.
  • Two men aged 49 and 42 from Wolverhampton.
  • Two Polish men aged 32 and 30 from Coventry.
  • A 25-year-old Polish woman from Birmingham.
  • A 27-year-old Portuguese man from Spalding.

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