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Human Trafficking

Police break-up the UK’s biggest modern slavery ring

8 July 2019

The largest modern slavery ring in the UK has been broken up by the police with support from anti-trafficking charity Hope for Justice.

The network had more than 400 victims who were put to work in the West Midlands by an organised crime gang.

But now, eight of those responsible for this horrific crime have been jailed after being convicted in two separate trails. The sentences range from three to 11 years.

Victims from Poland were tricked into coming to England with the assurance of work and a better life.

The slavery network fell apart when two victims escaped in 2015 and told the slavery charity Hope for Justice what had happened to them.

What was it like?

Men and women from Poland were transported over to the UK by bus and housed in dreadful conditions around West Bromwich, Smethwick and Walsall.

According to BBC News, they were forced to sleep in a room with filthy mattresses and their wages were taken from them on payday. They had to work long hours at rubbish recycling centres, farms and turkey-gutting factories.

The victims were aged between 17 to 60 and one of the victims even died while in captivity.

The slavery gang profited at the expense of their victims, making an estimated £2m + between June 2012 and October 2017.

Most extensive slavery network ever exposed in UK

The Judge at Birmingham Crown Court said the trafficking conspiracy was the “most ambitious, extensive and prolific modern-day slavery network ever exposed in the UK.”

Chief Inspector Nick Dale, who led the investigation said it was been a “really complex investigation” over four years.

CARE’s communication manager James Mildred said: “It really is true that modern slavery is hidden in plain sight. All of us have a responsibility to be extra vigilant and aware of the signs of modern day slavery because we all can play a part in bringing justice for victims and perpetrators.”

Find out more

Spot the signs of slavery – by Anti-Slavery International

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is one of the greatest violations of human dignity. We are fighting for effective laws that will help victims get better support.

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