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People traffickers’ penalty is ‘paltry’
9:30am Thursday 26th January 2012 in News
THE amount of money two people traffickers have been ordered to pay back by a court has been described as “paltry” by campaigners.
Anastassios Papas and Graham Cochrane, who operated the Fun Girls in Oxford escort agency, appeared at Oxford Crown Court on Monday for an application to seize assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The pair, who are currently serving 12 years in jail, were found to have benefited from their illegal activity to the tune of almost £102,000, but were ordered to pay back only £1,756.
Esther Davidson, from Oxford Community Against Trafficking, said: “It is very disappointing that more of the ill-gotten gains of the Oxford traffickers could not be seized.
“It is only right that the profits of trafficking should be ploughed back into the fight against this kind of human exploitation.”
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, courts can only seize money or assets found to belong to the defendants. If, as in Cochrane’s case, neither cash nor assets are recoverable then a nominal sum, in this case £50, is ordered to be paid.
Catherine Bearder, a Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East who has campaigned against human trafficking, said: “It seems like a paltry sum. But these men are merely the tip of a huge trafficking racket.”