Curry house trio's time in jail increased

Curry house owners in Yorkshire who trafficked overseas staff forced to work like slaves in their restaurant have had their "unduly lenient" jail terms increased by top judges.

Perveen Khan, 55, was jailed for three years alongside her two sons, Raza Ali Khan, 34, and Shahnawaz Ali Khan, 30, after the trio were convicted of people trafficking at Leeds Crown Court in March.

The three, all from Green Lane, Harrogate, recruited nine men from southern Asia and the Middle East, luring them to the UK with false promises of secure and well-paid work at the Rajput Restaurant, in Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate.

At London's Appeal Court, Solicitor General Edward Garnier, QC, challenged the trio's sentences as far too short for a "persistent campaign of exploitation" against vulnerable victims, including threats, bullying, restriction of liberty and excessive working hours.

Yesterday Lord Justice Pitchford agreed that the sentences imposed on Raza and Shahnawaz Khan were "unduly lenient" and increased them to four years.

Perveen Khan only escaped having her jail term increased because of her "uncertain and fluctuating state of mental health", said the judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Judge John Milford QC.

The judge said the trio's victims had been "deceived by promises of attractive wages and working conditions in the UK", but had been "subjected to conditions of neglect, abuse, deprivation and economic exploitation".

Restaurant workers' passports confiscated.

Deductions would be made from their miserly pay packets to cover "bond money" and they were subjected to threats, abuse and insults, and forced to work 12 hours or more each day, six or seven days a week, the court heard.