Yorkshire people traffickers sentences increased

Harrogate curry house owners who trafficked overseas staff forced to work like slaves in their restaurant have had their "unduly lenient" jail terms increased.

Perveen Khan, 55, was jailed for three years alongside her two sons, Raza Ali Khan, 34, and Shahnawaz Ali Khan, 30, after the trio were

convicted of people trafficking at Leeds Crown Court in March.

The three, all from Green Lane, Harrogate, recruited nine men from southern Asia and the Middle East, luring them to the UK with false promises of secure and well-paid work at the Rajput Restaurant, in Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate.

At London's Appeal Court, Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC, challenged the trio's sentences as far too short for a "persistent campaign of exploitation" against vulnerable victims, including threats, coercion, bullying, restriction of liberty and excessive working hours.

And Lord Justice Pitchford today agreed that the sentences imposed on Raza and Shahnawaz Khan were "unduly lenient" and increased them to four years.

Perveen Khan only escaped having her jail term upped because of her "uncertain and fluctuating state of mental health", said the judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Judge John Milford QC.

The judge said the trio's victims had been "deceived by promises of attractive wages and working conditions in the UK", but had been "subjected to conditions of neglect, abuse, deprivation and economic exploitation".

Restaurant workers would be escorted to Harrogate after being met at the airport and their passports confiscated.

Deductions would be made from their miserly pay packets to cover "bond money" and they were subjected to threats, abuse and insults, and forced to work 12 hours or more each day, the court heard.

The trio had also tried use their control over the workers in a bid to

stave off prosecution.

Although of good standing in the local community, the judge said their true characters were "kept hidden by their conduct towards their victims".

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