A 14-year-old girl was lured into drug trafficking 100 miles away from home and treated ‘like a modern slave’.
Zakaria Mohammed groomed the girl and two 15-year-old boys before making them sell crack cocaine and heroin from squalid flats in Lincoln.
The three teenagers were found by police surrounded by used syringes along with two addicts in a filthy one-bed flat.
Speaking out about their living conditions, the girl’s mother said: ‘My daughter is from a good, caring home but she was lured away to deal drugs in squalid conditions.
‘They were sleeping rough in a filthy flat and only allowed to leave when they were fulfilling a drug order. My daughter was used as a modern slave.
‘The children were too scared to buy food for themselves because they were instructed not to get any food.
‘From what I understand, it was the best part of living like a slave, really.
‘They were sleeping rough and instructed to do what he (Mohammed) said otherwise they might get in the neck from him.’
Mohammed, 21, has now been jailed for 14 years in a case that made legal history.
His trafficking conviction was the first under the Modern Slavery Act for a ‘County Lines’ drug dealer – meaning he exported drugs from big cities into rural areas.
The girl was reported missing from her home in Birmingham by her mum on March 28, and was found in the drug den by West Midlands Police officers on April 6.
Her mother urged other parents to monitor changes in their child’s behaviour – adding that being secretive, missing school or becoming aggressive could be signs they are being exploited by gangs.
She said: ‘What I would say to all parents is don’t be afraid to tell the police or seek help from a charity or support group.
‘We need to stand up for our children to keep them out of the hands of cruel people who want to exploit them for their financial gain.’
Detective Superintendent Rich Agar, West Midlands Police’s lead for County Lines, described the scene that greeted officers at the flat in Lincoln.
He said: ‘It was unclear the last time any of the kids had actually eaten something themselves. They were dishevelled, they were disorientated.
‘They were sitting there with known drug users, it was a horrible environment.’