Congratulations must go to Andy Desmond who was nominated for todays Peace Alliance Awards, presented by The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Andy, part of The Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate, Human Exploitation Team, was nominated in the Diversity category.
The awards ceremony took place at City Hall, Tower Bridge in front of an invited audience. I wasn’t there (even if I had an invite) as I am currently lecturing at CEPOL in Stockholm Sweden.
Andy didn’t win but was awarded a certificate of merit by Human Trafficking Champion Baroness Kennedy who is currently reviewing Human Trafficking in Scotland.
It was a very proud moment for Andy who has worked tirelessly in the fight against Traffickers.
I have obtained the citation leveled at DC Desmond.
Andrew has dedicated the last 4 years to investigating West African Trafficking and immersing himself into the difficult culture of JUJU witchcraft. He recently brought to justice the first West African Human Trafficking case where the suspect was imprisoned to 20yrs. This investigation centrered on two young African females who had been subject to horrific JUJU threats and brought to the UK to be sexually exploited. The victims escaped their captors but remained too terrified by the JUJU to engaged truthfully with authorities. Andrew spent over four years learning the culture, seeking to understand the JUJU with the sole intention of empowering these victims. He secured this by gaining the trust and assistance of African community teams such as The Rev Nims Obunge of the Peace Alliance, AFRUCA – Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (UK) an organisation concerned about cruelty against the African child, ECPAT and the Nigerian Refugee Council to name but a few and presented JUJU to a jury in a clear and concise manner. He spent many hundreds of hours, often in his own time, painstakingly going through reams of evidence to trace the suspect and tie him to his atrocities. This outstanding piece of work resulted in the incarceration of the main suspect and dismantled his Organised Criminal Network spread across Europe and West Africa. He has written a detailed paper outlining the background and problems to these types of investigations which is internationally acclaimed. DC Desmond is a career detective involved in many serious organised criminal investigations but openly states this was his most challenging and satisfying piece of work of his 30 year Police service.
DC DESMOND has dedicating the last four years to investigating African witchcraft implications to assist victims of Human Trafficking who have been exploited from the African Continent. He enabled these victims to disclose their plight to the authorities, overcoming their fear of the terrible implications JUJU had upon them and in doing so assist them to seek help in where they eventually wish to reside. Whilst engaging in this huge problem Andy has fostered relationships with several aspects of the African Community, not only in London and The UK but in The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Nigeria. His total commitment to the cause has immediately won over sections of the community that may have initially been suspicious of his title and intentions, engaging not only community members, NGO’s but the most vulnerable victims of Human Trafficking.