A takeaway boss jailed for enslaving white men must repay the victims
Hargit Singh Bariana, the owner of a chip shop and pizza takeaway, was given an eight-and-a-half-year jail sentence in 2018 for six modern slavery offences.
Northumbria Police this week said assets worth £133,000 had been seized from the criminal, who operated in Blyth and Sunderland, and that he would still have £142,000 to repay.
Local media reports that Bariana, 46, was jailed “after targeting white men who were left homeless due to alcoholism and drug addiction”.
His victims — five British men and one Pole, all of whom police said were “initially too terrified to speak about their ordeal” — were forced to live in “horrendous conditions” and work 13-hour days, including cleaning sewage pipes by hand.
Bariana gave the men alcohol and leftover takeaway food in exchange for their labour, resorting to physical violence, intimidation, and threats of eviction if they failed to carry out the gruelling work he assigned.
He also took the men’s £76-a-week housing benefits plus £20 from other welfare payments while forcing them to work every day.
The takeaway boss, who hit one of the six men so hard that he fractured the victim’s face, had previous convictions for crimes including illegal money lending, making threats, and the sale of counterfeit goods.
Jailing Bariana, Judge Sarah Mallett told him: “Your business model was largely predicated on free labour and the most minimal expenditure into your business to extract the maximum profit.”
Inspector Billy Mulligan, a lead officer in the investigation, said: “Hargit Bariana preyed on vulnerable victims for his own gain and their consistent bravery and strength during this whole process has been inspiring.
“Hopefully his victims can find comfort knowing that Bariana is not only behind bars but has now had these assets taken off him. It should also serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can take advantage of others for their own selfish gains.”
“This case challenges the stereotype and has shown that victims of modern-day slavery can come from any walk of life and any background,” Mulligan added.