Britain’s largest-ever modern-day slavery ring which trafficked more 400 people to West Midlands has been convicted and sentenced.
The ring forced more than 400 people from Poland to work for less £1 a day while their criminal masters earned £2 million. Some of its 400 victims worked for as little as 50p a day and in one case a worker was given coffee and a chicken as payment for redecorating a house.
The gang brainwashed homeless, alcoholic people and trafficked them to Britain with the promise of gainful employment.
After reaching UK they were housed in dirty place and used them as what a judge described as “commodities”.
The gang operation was smashed after victims were uncovered by anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice.
According to the charity, 51 of the victims made contact through its painstaking outreach efforts at two drop-in centres. The charity then flagged the ring to police.
All 8 suspects, part of a criminal gang led by the Brzezinsky family, were convicted of modern slavery offenses. Seven of them were also convicted of money laundering.
They received sentences ranging from 4½ to 11 years.
Victims were forced to live in inhuman conditions – while the traffickers made £2m from their suffering.
Police also said the ring topped up their criminal takings by claiming benefits in the victims’ names without their knowledge.
“Any lingering complacency after the 2007 bicentenary celebrations of the abolition of the English Slave Trade Act was misplaced,” Judge Mary Stacey told Birmingham crown court.
Stacey stated the conspiracy as as “most ambitious, extensive and prolific modern day slavery network ever uncovered in Britain.”
A victim said “I would say some homeless people here in the UK live better than I lived after I arrived over here.”
Stacey also stated the belief that slavery had been ended in Britain was not true: “The hard truth is that the practice continues, here in the U.K., often hiding in plain sight.”