Worthing care home couple guilty of human trafficking

A COUPLE have been found guilty of trafficking and exploiting illegal immigrants from Mauritius to work in two Worthing care homes.

Anbanaden Chellapermal, 61, and his wife, Shamila Seenyen-Chellapemal, 56, of Queens Gate, London, have been convicted of four counts of human trafficking after a three-week trial at Chichester Crown Court.

As guilty verdicts were read out for every count against his wife, Anbanaden Chellapermal began shaking his head at the jury, some of whom fought back tears and avoided his gaze.

He then collapsed in tears against his wife, who appeared unmoved by the verdicts.

Judge’s comments

Judge Robert Fraser released the pair on conditional bail and said he would await probation reports before sentencing, but told them: “I don’t want you to go away under any illusions. These are serious matters.

“You do face a custodial sentence. I make no bones about it.”

Read the details of charges against the Chellapermals by clicking here.

Victims’ evidence

Lutchmee Jhugur, Ragenee Oodit and Jean and Jessica La Rose all came to the UK via the agency between November 19, 2007, and May 1, 2008, armed with fake invitation letters provided by the agency to allow them to pass through immigration channels.

Working conditions

All were made to work between 70 and 90 hours a week for £450 a month, despite being promised £450 a week by Career Plus.

All workers were discouraged from leaving the homes and would be contacted within minutes if they did so and told to return.

Lucy Tsikira and Ruth Mparadzi, two Zimbabwean women who were staying illegally in the UK after their visitor’s visas expired, worked at the homes full-time in June and July, 2008, with an Indian woman, Ligimol Peter, who was also illegally in the UK.

All three said Seenyen-Chellapermal was fully aware of their immigration status, yet encouraged them to work for her as she was short-staffed.

Police response

Detective Inspector Andy Cummins, of the joint UK Border Agency and Sussex Police immigration crime team, said: “Human-trafficking is an appalling crime where people are treated as commodities and traded for profit. It is a modern form of slavery.

“In this case, the Chellapermals have not only knowingly and willingly exploited these people but have blatantly flouted the immigration laws of the UK.”

The couple will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on July 17.

A full summary of the trial and verdict appears in the Thursday, June 11 edition of the Worthing Herald.