Three people have been given jail sentences, including one in her absence, for their part in a trafficking operation which brought Pakistani clothing workers to Huddersfield only to exploit them.

Legal executive Nisa Ul Haq, 40, previously failed to attend Leeds Crown Court for sentence and a warrant is already out for her arrest.

She was convicted by a jury last year of conspiracy to traffic people into the UK for exploitation, assisting unlawful immigration and doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice and was jailed on Friday for a total of five and a half years.

Sentencing her sister Hajrah Safraz and her sister’s husband Mohmmed Safraz, Judge Guy Kearl QC said he was satisfied Ul Haq was at the centre of the operation and they played a lesser role but all were motivated by greed.

Workers who wanted to come to the UK were persuaded with the promise of well paid jobs at a tailors, many selling everything they had to pay arrangement fees to Ul Haq only to find they got a fraction of what they were promised when they got to Yorkshire.

UK Border Agency officers raid premises in Huddersfield
UK Border Agency officers raid premises in Huddersfield

“Many were left with nothing when they arrived and less than nothing after they had paid their tax to you.”

“This was economic exploitation.”

The complainants were forced to give back much of their limited wages in the form of “taxes” which Ul Haq claimed back for rent, VAT and electricity costs they should not have been paying.

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The judge said it was Ul Haq’s “enterprise and she directed events that took place to a large extent if not entirely.”

He added: “She interviewed the migrants, she set the immigration fees, she set the demands for further fees.”

He said she also coached the workers on what to say to the authorities.

“These migrant workers were vulnerable once here, she controlled them and told them what to say when the Home office attended and asked questions.”

Nisa Ul Haq, 39, of The Fairway, Fixby, who was found guilty of trafficking, facilitating illegal immigration and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Hajrah Safraz, 38, a mother of five, of Victoria Road, Lockwood, was jailed for three and a half years and her husband Mohammed, 36, for three years. Both were convicted by the jury of conspiracy to traffic people into the UK.

The jury heard applications were made for a total of 26 tailors with salaries between £15,000 and £19,000, not all were granted but a number of workers who did arrive “were paid only a fraction of that promised or were forced to repay the wages paid.”

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Judge Kearl said he was satisfied Hajrah was her sister’s “eyes and ears” at Ezaah Tailorz in Lockwood, ensuring the directions of Ul Haq were followed. She attended meetings when the exploitation took place and the workers were informed about increased taxes they were to pay.

He accepted her husband was further still down the “supervisory chain.” He had taken into account the effect on the children of both parents being jailed but said neither had shown remorse.

READ MORE: Three convicted of people trafficking operation in Huddersfield

Mohammed Javed Iqbal, 58, of George Avenue, Birkby, was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice after he approached a witness about to give evidence at a previous trial leading to its collapse. He was given six months in prison suspended for two years.

He appeared in court in a wheelchair and Judge Kearl said he was taking an exceptional course because of his unique medical circumstances.

Two of the jurors from the trial returned to the court to hear sentence passed.

Raid in Fartown by members of the Immigration Crime Team in October 2012
Raid in Fartown by members of the Immigration Crime Team in October 2012