Modern Slavery Gang Forced Polish Workers Into Recycling Centres

Four men have been jailed for their involvement in a people trafficking ring, which saw Polish workers forced into recycling centres.

The workers were forced to work in legitimate recycling centres in the North East of England, with their salaries paid into bank accounts controlled by the criminal gang.

Any resistance was met with violence and intimidation, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which said the gang had “abused and exploited Polish workers as modern slaves”.

Sabastian Mandzik, 40, Robert Majewski, 45, Pawel Majewski, 27, and Seweryn Szymt, 20, were involved in a large scale operation, which transported vulnerable people to the north east of England on the promise of well-paid work.

“This sort of exploitation is simply not acceptable and I hope this sends a warning to those who think they can exploit other people that we are out to catch them and they will ultimately end up in jail.”

Sebastian Mandzik was sentenced to a total of 12 years, Robert Majewski a total of 8, Pawel Majewski a total of 7 and Szmy a total of 5.

The victims were housed in cramped conditions and according to reports by Chronicle Live, were forced to scour the street in such of mattresses on which they could sleep.

The men were found guilty at Newcastle Crown Court of offences including conspiring to transport people for exploitation, conspiring to force people into labour and conspiring to conceal criminal property.

Detective Superintendent Steve Barron, of Northumbria Police said: “Protecting vulnerable people is my absolute priority and I’m pleased these men have been jailed for exploiting vulnerable people who were coerced into the country on the promise of well-paid work.

“Unfortunately, once here they were forced to live in horrible conditions and carry out work for little or no pay. This investigation has been a genuine multi-agency effort which has helped make the victims of this offending safe and punish those responsible.

“The victims are now in safe locations and are being supported by specialists from partner agencies and our officers.

“Sadly we know this is an increasing issue not just here in Northumbria but across the country and continent. This sort of exploitation is simply not acceptable and I hope this sends a warning to those who think they can exploit other people that we are out to catch them and they will ultimately end up in jail.

“It is important that we work together with not only our partners but the community. We all have a responsibility to help protect those who may be vulnerable and we believe that Safeguarding is everyone’s business. We urge people to be the eyes and ears of the community and if you see something suspicious or something that doesn’t feel right then please report it to police”.

Jim Hope, from the CPS, said: “The treatment of the victims and the conditions in which they were made to live were truly appalling.

“The CPS will continue to work alongside its criminal justice partners to tackle cases of modern slavery.”

“Once this group became aware of the police investigation, they made a calculated effort to remove or destroy any evidence linking them to this case. Despite their attempts, the CPS worked closely with detectives to build a complete picture of the scale and scope of their criminal operations.

“The CPS will continue to work alongside its criminal justice partners to tackle cases of modern slavery.”

All four men were found guilty of two counts of conspiring to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and one count of conspiring to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer and remove criminal property.

Sabastian Mandzik was convicted of one additional charge of conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to that person being exploited.

The four men will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday 30 May

Picture: (Top row) Sebastian Mandzik, Robert Majewski, (bottom row) Pawel Majewski and Seweryn Szmyt. Credit: Northumbria Police


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