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East Lancashire leading the way on best trafficking practice
SUCCESSFUL human trafficing and exploitation prosecutions in East Lancashire are set to be used as best practice across the country.
The solicitor general Oliver Heald QC visited the Crown Prosecution Service in Lancashire yesterday to learn more about high-profile cases.
The visit comes less than a month after a Burnley man was found guilty of repeatedly raping a young woman he had wed in a sham marriage.
Detectives uncovered an international human trafficking operation after receiving a tip-off that an Eastern European national was being kept prisoner above a corner shop in Burnley.
She had been kidnapped in Eastern Slovakia after being plied with alcohol and forced to travel to England after having her ID snatched from her.
The gang responsible for bringing her to the UK and holding her prisoner were given more than 30 years behind bars. Mr Heald said: “It was a very important case for prosecutors to learn from.
“The way that the girl was supported to make her feel comfortable about giving evidence was very important.
“What we are looking to do is to ensure that prosecutions are as good as they can be so that we get good practice.
“I will be able to go back to London and say what they are doing in the North West is extremely good.”
The lawyer, who is also the Conservative MP for North East Hertfordshire, said he would also be hearing about a 14-year-old girl who was groomed in East Lancashire and how she was later intimidated as a witness.
Mr Heald said: “It raises some very important issues.
“First of all, it was good to have the successful prosecution of the ring leader.
“But it is also very important that there was a successful prosecution of the people that intimidated her.
“I will talk to the attorney general and we will see if we can get these good practices recognised across the country.”
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