Cardiff

Weapons seized and 'slaves' released in Cardiff raids

Great news about a hugely successful police operation in Cardiff earlier this week, in which 13 victims of 'forced labour' were rescued:

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Swords, machetes and a handgun were seized during Wednesday's operation targeting traveller sites in Cardiff, police said.

Protecting 13 people from forced labour was a "critical element" of the raids.

More than 250 officers and staff swooped on New House Farm, the Shirenewton caravan site and a house in Rumney on Wednesday, making 20 arrests.

The operation by South Wale Police targeted organised criminality in the traveller community.

Of the 13 people who were found in separate caravans at one of the locations, eight were Polish, three were Romanian and two were British.

The oldest person was 56 and the youngest was 23.

Ch Supt Belinda Davies said: "One of the most critical elements was the protection of British and foreign nationals from forced labour and poor working conditions."

"Thirteen people who were found in various addresses were taken to a specialist reception centre where support is now being offered," she added.

On Wednesday morning, 20 people were arrested for offences, including suspected forced labour, money laundering, theft and large scale abstraction of electricity.

Among the items seized by police were luxury cars including a Ferrari and Range Rover, weapons and a substantial amount of cash.

The action in the Rumney and St Mellons areas of the city was called Operation Purple Barracuda.

It represented the latest phase of Operation Fulcrum, aimed at keeping communities across Cardiff safe.

The full article, including video footage of the operation, can be found here.

Vulnerable man forced to work as a 'slave' in South Wales

For the second day in a row modern day slavery is making headlines on the Welsh news. Cardiff Crown Court are hearing the testimony of a vulnerable man who was kept as 'slave' for 13 years on a farm in South Wales. Once again, the details of exploitation and cruelty suffered by this man are shocking. However, again the fact that this case has made it into the courts for the perpetrators to face justice must be celebrated. Let's keep praying for freedom and justice in our land. Here's how the BBC are reporting it:

A "terrified" vulnerable man was made to live in a shed while working unpaid for 13 years, a jury has heard.

Homeless Darrell Simester said he was picked up on a dual carriageway by the Doran family and taken to Cariad Farm, near Newport.

The 44-year-old told Cardiff Crown Court he carried on working the day after he fractured his hip.

Daniel Doran, 67, and David Daniel Doran, 42, deny requiring him to perform forced or compulsory labour.

The charges against the father and son cover a period between 2010 and 2013.

However, the court has heard how Mr Simester had been missing for 13 years, living on the Dorans' farm.

Giving evidence on Wednesday via a video link , Mr Simester told a jury that he had only two days off - once to attend a fair in Brecon, Powys, and once to go out for a New Year's Eve celebration.

WheelbarrowMr Simester, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, said: "I would start work at 7am and sometimes finish at 10pm or 11pm."

He added: "I fell off a horse one day. I fell on to concrete flooring.

"Somebody then got a wheelbarrow and stuck me in it. They took me to the shed I was living in. I was crying my eyes out at first.

"Was I taken to the hospital (straight away)? No. The following day I just carried on as normal working... mucking out the horses and cleaning them."

The court heard Mr Simester was taken to hospital two days after the accident - where he later had an operation on his hip.

He added: "I gave the doctors a different name (when I was in hospital). I told them I had fallen off a wall. Why did I give a false name? Somebody told me to give a false name. I can't remember who it was. I felt terrified and terrible."

Washed in a trough Mr Simester claimed he lived in a shed, which had rats and no washing facilities.

He ate two meals a day on his own in the outbuilding, which he said had a settee, table and chair and fire heater.

"I used the horse trough to have a wash," said Mr Simester.

For more than a decade he was not given soap and never used a toothbrush, the court heard.

When he developed toothache, Mr Simester was "disgusted" that David Daniel Doran gave him whisky to ease the pain.

He claimed he continued working despite a hernia the size of a grapefruit.

"It used to give me pain every day when I had it," said Mr Simester.

He had only one set of clothes when he arrived - a T-shirt, jumper, jeans and a leather jacket, which he used as a blanket when he slept. He was occasionally given different items of clothes while he was there.

The court heard Mr Simester was "terrified" of the two defendants. He said David Doran had thrown a spade at him, although it missed, while his son had thrown a block of wood at him, which had hit his head.

Slept rough The jury also heard how Mr Simester had to cross a horses' paddock to use a toilet that did not flush.

John Hipkin, prosecuting, showed the jury and Mr Simester a photograph of the shed, which was taken after he had left. It had a fridge-freezer, a table and chairs and other items of furniture.

Mr Simester said it was not furnished in that way during his stay.

He told the court he left school at 18 and found work unloading lorries in his hometown while living in a bedsit.

He said he met a man called Jimmy Loveridge, who took him to live in his wooden garden shed. He would give the family £100 of his £120 weekly wage from working in a warehouse.

When the Loveridge family took him with them on holiday to Porthcawl, Mr Simester said he fled from them and walked 40 miles (63 km) to Newport, where he slept rough in a car park.

He said he was walking along a dual carriageway near Taffs Well, Rhondda Cynon Taf, when he met Thomas Doran, another son of the defendant, who offered him work at his father's farm in Peterstone, Newport.

The trial continues.

Witchcraft used to trick, terrify and traffick women into Welsh brothels

There is a trafficking case currently being heard at Cardiff Crown Court that is both disturbing and disgusting. The sheer scale of the operation and the cruel depths of depravity employed by the traffickers to manipulate these vulnerable African women is staggering. However, it is great that those who are guilty are being brought to justice and we thank God every time that trafficking is exposed and the perpetrators face justice.

Here's how the Mirror are reporting it:

Women 'forced to eat snakes in black magic ritual to make them work as prostitutes'

Two young women were forced to eat SNAKES and SNAILS as traffickers used black magic to scare them into working as prostitutes, a court has heard.

A jury at Cardiff Crown Court was told the women from Nigeria were also shaved as part of a ritualistic ceremony designed to frighten them into secrecy.

Lizzy Felis, also known as Lizzy Idahosa, 24, denies a total of seven charges relating to trafficking two women into and around the UK, inciting them to become prostitutes and transferring criminal property.

Her partner Jackson Omoruyi, 41, denies three charges of inciting the women to become prostitutes and transferring criminal property.

Opening the trial prosecutor Caroline Rees said police had arrested a 23-year-old Nigerian woman at the Ambassador Suite brothel in City Road, Cardiff, in June 2013.

The woman told them she had been living rough in Nigeria after her mother died and had wanted to travel to the UK to find her father.

 

She had met a woman, who claimed to be Idahosa’s sister, who promised to make arrangements for her to travel to London.

As part of the agreement she attended a “juju ceremony” where she had her head shaved and was forced to eat a snail, a raw egg and some dust.

She was told that if she broke her oath of secrecy she would become ill, or go mad or infertile.

Ms Rees said: “She genuinely believed the powers would work.”

The court heard she then had her photograph taken with a man who posed as her husband and was given fake travel documents. She managed to pass through immigration at Heathrow and was taken to Kings Cross.

Ms Rees said: “She did not know what was expected of her. She was taken to a premises full of women dressed in their underwear. There was no explanation as to what was going on but it soon became clear.”

The prosecution allege that Idahosa, of Dressington Avenue in London, told the woman she would have to pay £50,000 in exchange for her travel to the UK.

She started to work as a prostitute and was forced to have sexual intercourse with seven or eight men every day.

She worked in East Croydon, Brighton, Stevenage and Swansea before being moved to Cardiff. The woman estimated that she had paid £45,550 to Idahosa in total.

The court heard a second woman had a similar experience. The woman, who is now 29, was also from Nigeria and met a woman claiming to be Idahosa’s mother who offered her a job in a shop in London but made her promise not to tell her family.

The second woman was also forced to take part in a juju ceremony where she was forced to eat a snake and drink dirty water before having her pubic hair shaved.

She was told that if she broke her oath of secrecy her family would be killed.

The court heard she was given a script to learn, which involved telling immigration officials that she was a lesbian and she was fleeing Nigeria to avoid being sacrificed.

When she arrived at Heathrow she recited the script and was taken to secure accommodation from where she managed to escape.

She made contact with Idahosa who made arrangements for her to travel to a brothel and told her she would have to repay £50,000 in travel costs.

Ms Rees said: “She was devastated and she cried but she could not see she had any option because she felt bound by the juju ceremony. Lizzy threatened to kill her mother and brother.”

The second woman also worked in several locations across England before being moved to Swansea and then Cardiff.

The court heard Idahosa was in a relationship with Omoruyi and they had a child together. The money was transferred between their bank accounts.

Ms Rees described Omoruyi, from Laleham Road in London, as “the financial middle man”.

The case continues.

Human Trafficking on the Rise in Cardiff

Once again human trafficking has made the news in South Wales. BBC Wales have just reported that trafficking is on the rise in our capital, Cardiff. We have posted the article in full below. You can also access the original article by Steve Duffy here.

_77303731_traffickingmedium2-1 Human trafficking in Cardiff is increasing year-on-year, with women being exploited for sex and children forced to work, says a new report.

The number of children at significant risk of exploitation in the city has more than doubled, new figures show.

Trafficking cases across Wales also rose from 34 to 50 in the last year.

But experts say the figures are only the tip of the iceberg - with many cases not officially recorded.

A task force set up by Cardiff council heard from police and many of the 50 different bodies working on the issue.

"The evidence demonstrates that trafficking in Cardiff is increasing, for all types and for all reasons," says its report.

DOMESTIC SERVITUDE

The number of children in the city regarded as being at "significant risk" of sexual exploitation has jumped from 12 to 28 between 2012/2013 and 2013/2104, according to the children's charity Barnardo's.

The council task force found:

  • The internal trafficking of children for sexual exploitation is the "biggest issue" in south Wales according to police
  • There are small opportunistic pockets of abusers as opposed to organised crime gangs from overseas
  • Children are also believed to be being put to work in places like cannabis factories
  • Children privately fostered may be being used for domestic servitude
  • Three quarters of the 50 official cases in Wales involve women, and 18 involve sexual exploitation

The report also points to five court cases in the area in the last three years, including the case in January of a couple jailed for trafficking two Czech women to work as prostitutes.

There was another trafficking case which saw women moved around the UK including to two places in Cardiff.

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Cardiff council has been regarded as leading the field in tackling trafficking but it is looking at what more it can do.

This includes raising awareness at spotting signs of trafficking and improving training for staff.

Another concern has been a two-year waiting list for those who have been exploited and need help for post-traumatic stress.

There are also concerns some victims have been offered unsuitable accommodation and qualified social workers have not been available when cases are first referred.

'EXPLOITATION'

The Black African Women Step Out (Bawso) charity which helps victims of exploitation from ethnic communities, said trafficking has always existed but there is now more awareness from professionals in health and education.

Dr Mwenya Chimba, director of violence against women at Bawso, said: "The problem is very big but the referrals don't reflect the extent of it.

"More recently it's not just the sex trade but forced labour and other forms of exploitation."


Case study - Mary

Mary travelled to the UK from West Africa illegally when she was 14.

She believed she was travelling to a job looking after children in London which would allow her to go to school herself.

But when she arrived in London, after using counterfeit travel documents, she was taken to a house where there were five other girls of various nationalities being forced to work as prostitutes.

She spent a year at the house being made to work as a prostitute and her earnings were confiscated.

Police spotted her during a raid at the house and she was placed in foster care before being referred to the anti-trafficking team.

She was given help and refuge accommodation in Cardiff where it emerged she was pregnant.

She is waiting for a decision to be made on her claim for asylum.

Mary's name has been changed


Yvonne Rodgers, director of Barnardo's Cymru, said closer work between police, councils and the charity had led to more children identified as being at risk of trafficking, more referrals and more protection for victims.

"We need to continue this pattern and see the police authorities in Wales using their full range of law enforcement and disruption tactics to arrest and deter the abusers and protect children from this horrific abuse," she added.

A large number of cases in UK are from countries like Nigeria, Vietnam, China, Albania and Romania.

A council spokesperson said two of its committees had produced a "comprehensive and useful report on this important issue, which takes many forms and which has a profound impact on both children and adults".

It said it looked forward to seeing the recommendations implemented soon.

Please keep praying for Cardiff:

  • That God would grant justice, healing and freedom for all who are being trafficked, exploited and enslaved.
  • That God would thwart the schemes of the wicked and that traffickers would be brought to justice.
  • That God would bless all who are on the frontline reaching out to victims of trafficking, as well as all those involved in exposing the crimes and confronting the criminals who are guilty of human trafficking.
  • And let's not stop praying until Cardiff is a slave-free city!

Walk for Freedom

Their freedom matters This coming Saturday (12th July) a Walk for Freedom has been organised in Cardiff.

Here's the lowdown:

  • WHAT: March through the streets of Cardiff (approx 1.5 hours long).
  • WHY: To hand out anti-trafficking flyers and pray for the end of slavery.
  • WHEN: 1:30pm Saturday 12th July
  • WHERE: Meet outside McDonalds on St Marys Street.
  • WHO: Everyone can take part! Men, women and children.
  • HOW: Contact Irene 07891712344 if you would like to be involved.

Be great to see some of you there.

Blessinz.