They were promised a new life in the UK but were shamefully exploited.

Now the appalling treatment of Pakistani clothing workers has led to three people being convicted of their part in a huge people trafficking operation in Huddersfield.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard the workers were often from a poor background and were induced with promises of well-paid work in a tailors business giving them the hope of education for their children and a good home in the UK.

Several sold up all they had to pay thousands of pounds in arrangement fees to Nisa Ul Haq and her accomplices, only to find they got a fraction of what they were promised when they got to Yorkshire, and were regularly forced to pay money back in the form of taxes.

Some were even charged £50 for sick notes and were told they would be reported to the immigration authorities if they complained.

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

Ul Haq, a qualified legal executive, was at the centre of the conspiracy, and the trafficking was achieved through the use of three companies in the Huddersfield area.

Ezaah Tailorz Ltd, (ETL) a small clothes producer operating in Lockwood Road, was used as a cover to gain entry into the UK of “far more individuals than could ever have worked there.”

Simon Kealey prosecting told the jury Ul Haq was a director of ETL. The firm sponsored Pakistani nationals on work permit visas to enter the UK to work for the tailors, which had a shop at the front and small manufacturing area to the rear. Only two of the four machines there were in working order and some workers brought over never even worked there.

Applications were made for a total of 26 tailors with salaries between £15,000-£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.” Mr Kealey told the jury they were forced to work long hours and promised accommodation was never as agreed.

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

The second company was Haq and Sanderson Immigration Ltd, of Hillhouse Lane, Fartown who were responsible for the preparation and submission of work permit applications. Again Ul Haq was a director as well as an associate of Institute of Legal Representatives and her sister Hajirah Safraz was listed as company secretary.

It was Ul Haq who was the key contact for the Home Office in relation to work permit applications.

The third company was Ezaah Boutique Ltd, a small retail outlet at Blacker Road, Birkby, which had a cellar converted for the small scale manufacture of Asian garments. Although Ul Haq was not a director “she was clearly heavily involved” with them said Mr Kealey.

Ul Haq, 39, of Victoria Road, Lockwood, was found guilty of conspiracy to traffic persons into the UK for the purpose of exploitation, of a second charge of assisting unlawful immigration and on a third charge attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to a witness.

Nisa Ul Haq, of Fixby, at an earlier hearing at Kirklees Magistrates' Court
Nisa Ul Haq, of Fixby, at an earlier hearing at Kirklees Magistrates' Court

Her sister Hajirah Safraz, 38, and her sister’s husband Mohammed Sarfraz, 36, also of Victoria Road, Lockwood , were also convicted of conspiracy to traffic persons into the UK for exploitation.

The three were each granted conditional bail until sentencing on December 23.

READ MORE: People Trafficking trial: Pakistani workers promised ‘an opportunity of a lifetime’ to work in Huddersfield

Ul Haq’s brothers Shahbaz Hussain, 35 of St Stephen’s Road, Lockwood and Ahjaz Akhtar Hussain, 25, Victoria Road, Lockwood, and Muhammed Iqbal, 46, of Yews Mount, Lockwood were each found not guilty on the conspiracy charge.

Mohammed Javed Iqbal, 58, of George Avenue, Birkby, who was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice after he allegedly approached a witness, was also granted bail until sentence.

Two other defendants, Shahnaz Iqbal, 53 of Kaffir Road, Edgerton and Raheela Bibi, 32 of Lockwood Road, were cleared earlier in the trial on the conspiracy charge on the direction of the judge.