The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, has commented on the recent case of three men sentenced to 28 years’ imprisonment for modern slavery and Proceeds of Crime Act offences.
Three brothers from a Romanian organised crime group trafficked victims to the UK in order to exploit them within the construction industry.
Victims were promised paid work of £500 per month, but instead had their ID confiscated on arrival in the UK and were forced to stay in a single room infested with cockroaches and vermin.
The gang forced their victims to work using forged construction qualification documents at building sites across London and the Home Countries. The victims were paid just £2 a day.
A joint investigation led by the Metropolitan Police, Romanian Police and others found that over three years of offending, the gang made more than £1.2 million by keeping the victims’ wages for themselves. They kept their victims enslaved through violence and manipulation, described by the sentencing judge as “the denial of their humanity”.
The three brothers were found guilty of modern slavery and Proceeds of Crime Act offences and sentenced to 28 years’ imprisonment in total.
33 potential victims of modern slavery were rescued and taken into safety, including four women and five children.
Dame Sara Thornton said:
“It is good that these men were convicted and the police will continue to investigate traffickers and exploiters. But we need to do more than investigate abuse after it happens - we need to prevent it in the first place. All businesses have a responsibility and an important role to play.
This case illustrates the importance of companies ensuring that modern slavery statements are not a box ticking exercise but demonstrate a real determination to ensure that there are no slaves involved in their supply chains.”