Three people were recently convicted for trafficking young Vietnamese girls, who were forced to work without pay in a nail salon.
The trio of nail salon owners, Giang Huong Tran, 23, Viet Hoang Nguyen, 30, and Thu Huong Nguyen, 49, were sentenced by the Stafford Crown Court after being convicted of exploiting girls who were as young as 16 years of age.
The girls were forced to work at different nail salons in the Midlands and South West. They were not paid for their hard work.
"The victims worked for no money and were trafficked between nail bars according to demand," said Eran Cutliffe from Crown Prosecution Service West Midlands.
"They were hidden from the authorities in order to avoid detection whilst being exploited in plain sight within our society."
According to the court documents, the owners used the victims’ lack of immigration status, age, and social status to exploit them, making them work for free.
Five police agencies and the National Crime Agency worked to explore the sophisticated trafficking operation; as a result arrests were made in Bath and Burton-on-Trent.
Thu Huong Nguyen, who forced two young women to work at Deluxe Nails in Bath city center, for 60 hours per week without any pay, received a five-year sentence. She also made the young women sleep in a loft space.
The police also discovered more than $81,000 cash in £50 notes stuffed inside a teddy bear in a wardrobe at Thu’s residence in Bath.
Viet, who owns Gorgeous Nails, will be jailed for four years after he was convicted of facilitating the movement of people for labor exploitation, while Giang and her manager were given a two-year suspended sentence for forced labor.
"Today marks the conclusion of a desperately sad case in which young vulnerable girls were forced to work in nail bars across the country as part of a sophisticated money-making operation,” said Detective Investigator Charlotte Tucker.
"Two teenage victims were safeguarded following the warrant carried out on Nail Deluxe in Bath and a further two were located at a nail bar in Burton-on-Trent," he explained.
"These victims have had traumatic childhoods and were treated by traffickers as commodities — forced to live and work in unsuitable conditions, with little or no pay, and enduring both physical and verbal abuse.”
"We're pleased with the custodial sentences given out today and hope this case acts as a stark reminder of how modern slavery victims are working and living in plain sight,” he said.
Sadly these women are made to believe that they have to tolerate these kinds of atrocities to be able to live in the country.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Carlo Allegri