First modern slavery crime conviction in Hampshire

AN ANDOVER drug dealer has been jailed for more than two years after admitting to acts of slavery on a 13-year-old boy, the first conviction of its kind in Hampshire.

Kadeem Hibbert, 18, arranged nine days of travel for the teenage boy with plans of exploitation by arranging for him to deal Class A drugs, Winchester Crown Court heard yesterday.

Hibbert, of Livia Close, Andover, also admitted to possession of crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply.

As previously reported in the Advertiser, officers arrested the 13-year-old boy in October last year after he was found with a knife and wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

After subsequent enquiries, officers discovered Hibbert would use the boy to deal class A drugs by sending the boy out to Andover after sending out a bulk text message to drug users in the area.

On November 26, officers carried out a warrant at Hibert’s home in Andover and found wraps of heroin and cash, where he was arrested and charged with the offence under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including the two drug supply offences.

The 2019 Modern Slavery Report confirmed that there are more than 1,400 active investigations involving modern slavery across the UK.

Yesterday Hibbert was sentenced to prison for two years and seven months following the hearing, after the boy released with no further action taken.

Detective Constable Tom Bailey said: “This is the first time we have been able to use modern slavery laws to secure the conviction of a drug dealer.

“Hibbert exploited a vulnerable young boy to peddle class A drugs in Andover for his own financial gain.

“This case shows we will use all legislation available to us to target criminals who exploit vulnerable. children and adults to deal these harmful substances.”

Modern slavery takes many forms and could involve someone who is:

    forced to work
    owned or controlled by an ‘employer’
    treated as a commodity or property
    restricted by someone else in relation to their freedom of movement.

In 2017-18, 239 suspects were charged with modern slavery offences, more than a 25 per cent rise from the year before.

You can report any information or suspicious activity in complete confidence via the Modern Slavery helpline on 0800 012 1700.

Source: (Andover Advertiser)