Friday, July 05, 2019

UK slavery network had 400 victims

July 5, 2019

Police believe more than 400 victims were put to work in the West Midlands by the organised crime gang.

They tricked vulnerable people from Poland into England with the promise of work and a better life.

But their victims were made to live in rat-infested houses and work menial jobs, it can now be reported after reporting restrictions were lifted.

Eight offenders, who police say are members and associates of two Polish crime families, have been jailed after being convicted in two separate trials of crimes including trafficking, conspiracy to require another to perform forced labour and money laundering.

Their sentences range from three to 11 years.

The network collapsed when two victims fled their captors in 2015 and told slavery charity Hope for Justice of their ordeal.

The group of five men and three women targeted the most desperate from their homeland, including the homeless, ex-prisoners and alcoholics.

They were transported to the UK by bus, but when they arrived they were housed in squalid homes around West Bromwich, Smethwick and Walsall, forced to sleep up to four in a room on filthy mattresses and had their wages "farmed" from bank accounts on payday.


It is estimated the gang made more than £2m between June 2012 and October 2017, which allowed them to lead a lavish lifestyle.

If any victims complained, gang enforcers would humiliate, threaten or beat them.

One victim was stripped naked in front of other workers, doused in surgical chemical iodine, and told that the gang would remove his kidneys if he did not keep quiet.


"Some were told they would be taken to the woods to dig their own graves. One man who had an accident at work was forced back to the factory and denied hospital treatment, leaving him with long-term damage to his arm."

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