A slavery gang working in Waste Recycling has been jailed by Newcastle Crown Court for a total of 32 years after trafficking and exploiting vulnerable Polish workers.
Sabastian Mandzik, Seweryn Szymt, Pawel Majewski and Robert Majewski have been found guilty of conspiring to force people into labour.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the gang then controlled their victims’ finances by taking their bank cards and wages and leaving them with “pittance” to live on.
Locking them up, Judge Stephen Ashurst said:
“Throughout the ages, vulnerable people have been exploited and, despite the efforts of reforms over the country to outlaw slavery, it has not been eradicated and it continues to thrive in various parts of the world.
“Sadly, as this case demonstrated, the exploitation of such people continues in our own country.”
The victims were then put to work through a legitimate agency picking through litter at recycling plants, where the pay was low and the hours long.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the gang took control of their victims’ bank accounts and took their wages and used abuse and violence against anyone who resisted.
While many people’s first ideas of waste crime are to do with crimes like fly-tipping and illegal sites, the UK waste sector, given its reliance on migrant labour is vulnerable to human trafficking and labour exploitation.
Back in September 2016, three men were arrested following raids on two recycling plants at CAP Recycling in West Bromwich and Black Country Recycling in Oldbury, as well as at homes in West Bromwich and Handsworth Wood, after 12 Polish men were found, with intelligence suggesting they were working shifts of up to 12 hours for around £10 a shift.
The Moderns Slavery Act 2015 sets out what companies can do to play their part in policing and reducing modern slavery in their supplies chains and within their own organisations.