Hope for Justice Awarded Assistant Chief Constable’s Commendation
Hope for Justice’s European Programmes Director Neil Wain pictured with Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Dee Collins.
Hope for Justice was awarded an Assistant Chief Constable’s Commendation in February for our work with West Yorkshire Police on Operation Geltre.
In autumn 2014, our Investigators supported the force’s Economic Crime Unit to recover potential victims of human trafficking for the purposes of forced labour and benefit fraud. Police and multi-agency staff including our team were divided into teams to visit a number of addresses.
Hope for Justice Investigators spoke to one victim who agreed to engage with our team and enter safehouse accommodation through the National Referral Mechanism.
Three suspects were also arrested including the main suspect who was wanted on multiple European arrest warrants and consequently remanded in custody.
Early in 2015, DC Chris Hargreaves of the Economic Crime Unit contacted Hope for Justice requesting further assistance in the case. A man had come forward alleging that the main suspect had trafficked him and his family. The man was himself on police bail and to remain impartial, West Yorkshire Police enquired if our Investigators could establish whether he was in fact a victim.
“This is a perfect example of the need for an alternative, independent route for potential victims to be assessed even where a police force is highly engaged and educated on trafficking” says Hope for Justice European Programmes Director, Neil Wain.
Over the course of two days this man, his wife and a further woman were debriefed by Investigators from Emma’s Hub. The following week, another family came forward believing they had been trafficked by same suspect and were debriefed by our team alongside the police.
As a result of partnership working between West Yorkshire Police and Hope for Justice, Operation Geltre led to six adult and seven child victims being entered into safehouses and to the arrest and extradition of the main perpetrator to face charges abroad.
Neil Wain attended the ceremony at Wakefield Police Headquarters to accept the Commendation on behalf of our staff and supporters on 29th February 2016.