Greetings from The Slave Detective,
In my last post I mentioned the growing trend in Vietnamese Trafficking and the dilemma faced by the authorities when they arrest persons cultivating cannabis factories.
This latest case in China is a Vietnamese Trafficking case but with a different moral dilemma for prosecuting authorities.
This is a case where the trafficker was once trafficked. It appears that she has moved up the ‘supply chain’ into the controlling position. It is a sex trafficking case.
This is not an unusual position. In a case that I dealt with whilst on the Human Trafficking Team with DC Fiona Crean and DC Jim Cavenham. We had a very similar scenario.
Operation SHAWM has been a subject of another posting by myself. One of the survivors wrote a diary during her ordeal, which she gave authority to publish.
The person who was in charge of this little gang was a female. Her boyfriend and his brother assisted her.
Andrea NOVAK was 21yrs old and running two brothels in, the ‘up market’, St Johns Wood and Belsize Park area’s of North London. She had one victim under her control as a prostitute for six months, keeping her as a virtual slave. She was expanding her operation, advertising in Hungary for more sex workers when we ended her business.
Read my previous blogs for the full story.
I want to get back to this moral issue. NOVAK was prosecuted and is serving a lengthy prison sentence. During the trial the Judge took into account that she had been a victim of Human Trafficking but had assumed control of her own organisation.
Was it right for us to prosecute her? She was quite clearly the boss over the other two. The five survivors we rescued were all answerable to her in her various non-deplumes.
So China have these persons arrested. I obviously do not have all the details but as a law enforcement agency, investigation and prosecution are the key roles.
Whilst I am aware that there are many victims being arrested, what should the role of the Police be?
I believe it is their duty to investigate thoroughly. Make all the facts available to the prosecutor and defence legal representative. Everyone has a role in the process to ensure the correct outcome is reached. It isn’t easy and each case is very different. I believe we were right to prosecute NOVAK, but make sure that everyone was fully aware of NOVAK’s background. The witnesses in this case, the survivors, also want to see justice being done for the ordeal they have been through.
So rather than, in the first instant, pressure being applied on the Police not to continue with a case, the process must be instigated. This ensures that, for example in the cases of the Vietnamese youths cultivating cannabis, all the facts are closely examined so the best conclusion for all involved is reached.
Whilst we don’t want to feed the Traffickers with opportunity to recruit even more victims, using the knowledge that nothing will be done to those caught, we still need to realise that a small cannabis factory pails into insignificance to the contravention of someone’s human rights. Being forced to carry out such duties, locked in premises by ruthless gangs.