Law Centre welcomes ‘modern slavery’ convictions

Employment caseworker Caroline Maguire

Employment caseworker Caroline Maguire

Law Centre (NI) has welcomed the conviction of two men for human trafficking offences.

Ioan Lacatus was given a sentence of two and a half years while Samuil Covaci was given a conditional discharge for time already served.

The convictions arose out of a PSNI operation in August 2014 when 15 people were recovered from a house in Portadown. The workers had been duped into coming to Northern Ireland on the promise of good pay, food and accommodation.

However, on arrival they were put to work for long hours in a variety of jobs, given little food to eat, had their wages taken off them and were living in substandard conditions.

Employment caseworker Caroline Maguire welcomed the sentence and said: “The Law Centre commends the work of the PSNI Human Trafficking Unit for pursuing this investigation and securing convictions.

“We hope that the sentences handed down will serve as a warning to others who seek to profit through the exploitation of other human beings that such exploiters will be pursued and brought to justice.”

Ursula O’Hare, interim director of the Law Centre, added: “This case highlights the importance of prosecutions as a vital part of the fight against modern slavery.

“As an organisation which seeks justice for victims of human trafficking and slavery, we believe that victims need to be adequately compensated for the exploitation they have suffered.”