Slavery Order for Itman Ismail in Bridgwater drugs operation

2 min read

Somerset County Gazette

A CARE worker who exploited vulnerable children in a county lines drugs gang has had her future contact with young people restricted by a court order.

Itman Ismail worked in a charity before falling for a drug dealer and helping him recruit runaway boys.

She was on sick leave from London’s Heartwood charity when she transported 15 and 16-year-old boys to Devon and Somerset in hire cars.

Four boys, who had run away from care homes in London, were used as street dealers and couriers, often carrying potentially lethal cargoes of drugs inside their bodies.

Two were found with a total of 191 wraps of heroin and crack with a street value of £2,390 ‘plugged’ inside them.

Ismail exploited them despite having been trained in safeguarding and lecturing social workers on the dangers of human trafficking.

The drug gang run by her partner Omarie Nixon operated in Bridgwater, Sidmouth, Plymouth and Torquay and were caught by police with the runaway boys in cars she hired.

Ismail, 29, was jailed for four years at Exeter Crown Court after admitting three counts of modern slavery.

Judge David Evans imposed a five-year Slavery and Trafficking Protection Order, banning her from contacting children and requiring her to give police details of any car she hires or phone she uses.

The judge said: “In my judgment…she knew full well the general purpose of exploiting the children.

“She was under the influence of her co-defendant but not under duress.

“She willingly put in jeopardy her good name and career, apparently in the name of love and perhaps in pursuit of the misguided glamour of criminality.

“She risked harm to children.”

The order is one of the first imposed on a woman under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Ismail was jailed alongside Nixon, 21, who admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and possession of a mobile phone in prison and was jailed for seven years and nine months.

He ran the drugs operation, but she booked hotels or houses and joined Nixon and the boys on car and coach trips.

Ismail paid £25,000 into her bank account, but the true value of the drug dealing is probably much higher.

Her only sign of any concern for the boys was a text sent in Somali to Nixon which said: “I wish you didn’t use clean kids who are scared of the police.”

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