A girl trafficked into the country, repeatedly raped and forced to carry out domestic chores has today won more than Â£100,000 compensation in a landmark legal case.
The payout was secured by GMP using Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) legislation – a result that is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The Â£101,300.72 award will be used to compensate the victim for years of unpaid domestic servitude at the hands of Ilyas and Tallat Ashar.
Ilyas Ashar (01/01/29) of Cromwell St, Eccles, was previously found guilty of 13 counts of rape following a re-trial at Minshull Street Crown Court.
He had earlier been found guilty of two counts of trafficking people for exploitation and three offences under the Social Security Act at an earlier trial.
Illyas Ashar was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison in October 2013 which was increased to 15 years by the Court of Appeal in February 2014.
His wife, Tallat Ashar (21/05/45) of Cromwell St, Eccles, was found guilty at an earlier trial of two counts of trafficking people for exploitation and seven offences under the Social Security Act and she was sentenced to five years for each trafficking offence and 12 months for the social security offences, all to run concurrently. This was increased to six years by the Court of Appeal in February 2014.
The victim in this case was believed to be a child when she came into this country. She was never afforded any form of education or professional support for her disability. She had significant communication difficulties.
It is thought she could have been as young as 10 when she was taken in by the Ashar family after being trafficked into this country in 2000.
On 8 June 2009, officers were assisting Salford Trading Standards with an investigation into money laundering. The victimâ¿¿s details had been used on bank accounts linked to the couple so officers asked to speak to her when they went into the house.
Illyas Ashar indicated that she was in the cellar and officers found her sleeping on a cot bed.
Trading Standards Officers tried to speak with the victim but quickly realised she was incapable of communication and, with the police officers, removed her to a place of safety.
An initial assessment of her needs indicated she only had limited ability to communicate through facial expressions, informal gestures, pictures and body language.
Despite being very shy at first, social workers quickly realised the victim was a bright, intelligent girl who was keen to communicate about her situation. However she needed a lot of help and support to help her to make herself understood.
It became obvious that the victim had no involvement in the fraudulent transactions her name had been used for. She could not read or write and all the offences were carried out by Ilyas and Tallat, using the girlâ¿¿s name.
During the course of interviews with the victim, it was discovered that she was raped on a regular basis by Ilyas.
She was made to carry out cooking, cleaning and other chores at a number of houses.
She was left to sleep on a camp bed in the cellar.
Thousands of pounds in benefits were claimed in the victimâ¿¿s name, and a number of bank accounts were set up using her details. The victim told officers that Tallat and Faazia would complete the forms and write a signature for her to copy.
The convictions for fraud and trafficking triggered a financial investigation looking into both the total amount fraudulently claimed in benefits and compensating the victim for loss of income.
The compensation covers the salary the victim would have been able to command if she was legitimately employed to carry out the chores she was forced to do.
At Minshull Street Crown Court today, Wednesday 15 October 2014, under POCA legislation, the Ashars were also ordered to pay back Â£27,762.82 to the Department of Work and Pensions and Â£14,205.36 in benefit fraud.
They each have six months to pay. If Ilyas fails to pay in that time he could be jailed for two years while Tallat has bene told she will face a further two years, four months imprisonment.
The Ashars were also ordered to pay more than Â£300,000 in court costs which goes back into .
Salford divisional commander Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle, said: “Today’s result is a landmark case for both GMP and for victims of trafficking everywhere.
“The crimes of the Ashars are well-documented and quite rightly people continue to share a sense of disbelief at the prolonged cruelty they inflicted on their young victim.
“However, inspired by her strength and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, officers have worked tirelessly to ensure justice is done in the full sense of the word.
“Our financial investigators delved deeply into the Ashar’s financial affairs and used existing legislation to great effect, ensuring they can now pay their debt.
“The money will in no way make up for went she went through over a number of years, but it will help her move on with her life and continue her inspiring recovery from these awful events.
“I believe today’s outcome also gives hope to any victim of trafficking. It reminds us that there are people out there willing to bring people to this country purely to be exploited but, with the correct use of the law, the perpetrators can be brought fully to justice.
“This case has come just as GMP is preparing for a week of action in the lead up to National Anti-Slavery day on Saturday 18 October 2014, which is run by the Human Trafficking Foundation.
“Throughout the week officers will be targeting those areas and business premises seen to be at risk of both sex and labour exploitation, with a series of harm reduction visits. They will also be working with hotels around the airport and Manchester City Centre to raise awareness with staff of how to spot victims of trafficking.”
If any one suspects an adult or child in Salford is being abused they can contact Adult Safeguarding on 0161 9096517 or Greater Manchester Police on 101. More information on safeguarding adults is available at www.salford.gov.uk.adultabuse.htm