Indian restaurateur guilty of trafficking

Chef Shahnawaz Ali Khan, once lauded in press reviews for his skills, his brother Raza Ali Khan and their mother Parveen Khan were found guilty of trafficking up to nine members of staff, following a three-month trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The case began after three of the workers came forward reporting that they had been exploited. This led to an investigation, Operation Keepnet. The investigations revealed a catalogue of exploitation of workers at the Rajput restaurant dating back to 2004.

The three convicted were all found to be guilty in the business’ day-to-day running and therefore involvement with trafficking their workers. Brothers Shahnawaz Ali and Raza Ali Khan served as directors, Shahnawaz looked after the work permits and visas whilst Raza was in charge of pay.

Their mother Parveen assisted with obtaining work permits for their workers. Many of the staff were previously working in prestigious restaurants in the Middle East, India and Pakistan, and had accepted offers to work legitimately at the Rajput, signing work contracts and obtaining work visas.

However, on arrival to the UK legally, they had their passports taken from them by one of the defendants and was then put to work at the Rajput for up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. All received little or no money for their work. The staff claimed they were effectively barred from moving around freely and transported to work by their employers so they could not abscond.

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