A Polish man who brought four Polish nationals into the UK and treated them like slaves has been jailed for 18 months.
Jonatan Majewski, aged 26, pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court to one charge of human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation and was sentenced on Tuesday.
His father, Marek Majewski, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was given a 12-month custodial sentence.
In January 2016, the Hackney, London, resident recruited four Polish nationals in Poznan, western Poland, under the pretext that good jobs with excellent wages were awaiting them in the UK.
Instead, the three men and one woman, all in their in their twenties, were sent to work at a commercial laundry firm in Essex where they were forced to work 12-hour shifts six days a week.
The court heard that the four had to sleep together on the floor of one small bedroom and were given food rations of bread and soup.
At the end of each week, Jonatan Majewski demanded their salaries, taking the majority of the money claiming it was for food and lodgings, giving them back just a few pounds each.
"London is now a global hotspot for modern-day slavery" https://t.co/d8vmO9Fwkc
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After three weeks living under slave-like conditions, the victims sought help from their employer and the police.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit then executed a search warrant at the Majewskis’ property and Jonatan Majewski was arrested and charged with one offence under Section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
In addition to the custodial sentence handed to the trafficker on Tuesday, he was issued with Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order (STPO).
DC James Greenaway of the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said: “Jonatan Majewski cynically exploited his victims for financial gain. He deceived them with the promise of a better life, offering a job with a regular wage, which was higher than they could earn in Poland. In reality, they were made to work very long hours and had the majority of their wages withheld.”
Last summer, the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned that slavery in the UK is “far more prevalent than previously thought”, with the head of Scotland Yard’s anti-slavery police unit warning that London is now a global hotspot for modern-day slavery.
NCA Director of Vulnerabilities Will Kerr, said the ability of EU citizens to move freely around the bloc was “definitely a factor” in the rise of slavery that was affecting “every large town and city” in the UK.