A 36-year-old Latvian woman arrived in the UK with the belief that she would be given a job on a mushroom farm. Instead, she was taken to the house of Hanan Butt and Jekaterina Ostrovska in Slough, and was then moved to Birmingham where she was introduced to Mohammed Akmal, whom she later married in a false Islamic ceremony, witnessed by Rashid Ahmed.
The victim was moved to two addresses in Longsight, Manchester. In the first address, she existed in a small attic bedroom which was locked while Akmal’s family lived in the main house. The second address had metal grates over the windows and she was not allowed to use the telephone or leave the house without being supervised.
The victim was found after she managed to tear off a partial address from a piece of mail and rang her mother who then informed Interpol.
Mohammed Akmal and Rashid Ahmed were both found guilty of conspiracy to seek to remain leave in the UK by deception. Akmal was sentenced to one year and eight months, whilst Ahmed was sentenced to just nine months imprisonment.
Hanan Butt and Jekaterina Ostrovska both pleaded guilty to human trafficking for exploitation. Butt was sentenced to two years and eight months, whilst Ostrovska was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment.
The Dark Figure* is an ongoing photographic project that investigates and documents UK neighbourhoods where victims have been identified as modern-day slaves.