POLICE have arrested 77 people for human trafficking in Bradford since a new law was introduced in 2015 to crack down on modern-day slavery.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request revealed the number of arrests in Bradford was the highest in West Yorkshire; more than double the amount of arrests in Leeds, where 34 were recorded.

All of the arrests were made under the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015, which became law in March of that year.

The figures emerged on the day that the T&A reports a couple from Lidget Green are to stand trial in May next year accused of enslaving and assaulting a young woman and controlling her for prostitution.

Earlier this year, in August, six traffickers from Bradford were convicted under the Act after an investigation by West Yorkshire Police’s Human Trafficking Unit discovered a group would often target single and vulnerable men in extreme poverty and promise them a better life or use the threat of violence to bring them to the UK.

Once the victims were in the UK the group would exploit them – housing them in nearby, often sub-standard accommodation and arranging the victims’ housing benefits to be paid directly to the group.

The group would also set up bank accounts in the victims’ names but would then take all or some control of these before getting them to sign on to any other benefits available to them.

Frantisek Cisar, 37, Bohuslava Cisarova, 33, Marcel Cisar, 34, and Arpad Jano, 41, all of Rayleigh Street, Bradford, were jailed for a combined 17 years and nine months.

Two other members of the gang were also from Bradford.

Bohuslava Cisarova, 60, of St Leonards Road, Bradford,was jailed for two years, while Jan Cisar, 62, of the same address, was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years.

West Yorkshire Police explained its Safeguarding Units and Crime Investigation Teams at each of its five policing districts have been trained in this area of work.

A dedicated Human Trafficking Team has been created to investigate claims after funding was made available by Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

The team predominantly deals with Human Trafficking on an organised crime level but they also provide support to the district teams to ensure consistent approaches are taken and that intelligence is properly collected and acted upon.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: “The team has had specialist training in human trafficking both in force and from partner agencies such as Hope for Justice.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was successful in a bid for £200,000 from the Ministry of Justice to set up a West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network.

The funding broadly aimed to:

  • Set up an Anti-Trafficking Network
  • Raise awareness/train staff
  • Help victims cope and recover through the Purpose Project

“The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and West Yorkshire Police work in partnership with the West Yorkshire Anti-Trafficking Network which comprises all five local authorities, the fire service, Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, The Home Office, Migration Yorkshire, UK Visas and Immigration, and the Salvation Army.

“In addition on a more local level, policing districts have held partnership events in order to engage local communities and organisations and increase awareness. It is the intention that each district will continue to work to develop partnership responses to ensure victims get access to the best support possible.”