£18m business in ruin after CEO jailed for human trafficking

A former West Yorkshire factory owner from Batley has been jailed for 27 months for people trafficking.

Mohammed Rafiq, 60, of Thorncliffe Road, Staincliffe, who was found guilty of conspiracy to traffic after the courts heard how five complainants were exploited at his factory which, along with his property business, enjoyed a turnover of £18m, while forcing victims to work up to 16 hours a day for as little as £10 per week.

Victims during the trial explained how they had been trafficked in to the country and put to work at either the Kozee Sleep factory in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, or the Layzee Beds factory in Batley, subsidiaries of Hick Lane Bedding and supply beds to well-known retailers such as John Lewis, Dunelm Mill and Next.

Hungarians Janos Orsos and Ferenc Illes, who supplied the victims to Rafiq have already been jailed in 2014 and Judge Christopher Batty said “You [Rafiq] gambled a great deal when you got into this arrangement with Orsos….You were a pillar of the community. Now, as one of your references described, you are a fallen man. You have lost it all. I’m now afraid to say you must lose your liberty.”

 

The business was recently wound up following the scandal and a petition from HMRC. KPMG were appointed but with no interest shown in the company and major contracts lost, the business was inevitably closed and 170 jobs lost.