Three men who ran the largest human trafficking ring ever blown up in Britain were convicted of forcing hundreds of desperate people to live and work in appalling conditions.
David Handy, 54, Mateus Natkowski, 29, and Lukasz Wywrinski, 38, lured hundreds of Poles to the West Midlands with the promise of a better life.
In reality, the gang squeezed up to 11 people into two-bed houses and forced them to work – then siphoned off their meager salaries.
You were convicted in the third trial in what is probably the largest European charge against modern slavery.
A three-year police investigation that began in 2015 uncovered a well-organized criminal gang led by the Brzezinski family.
The first of two trials in 2019 resulted in five conspirators being sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison.
A court heard criminal bosses rake in £ 2 million while those who exploited them lived in misery.
The victims were reduced to recycling used cigarette butts from the street and going to soup kitchens and tables to get enough to eat.
Some were paid as little as 50p for a day’s work – and in one case, a worker was given coffee and a chicken as payment to renovate a house.
Another man had to wash himself in a sewer because otherwise he would not have access to water, while a leaky toilet in one house had to be plugged with an old duvet.
Meanwhile, the gang’s bosses lived in designer clothes and drove luxury cars, including a Bentley.
Judge Mary Stacey said the conspiracy, which ran from June 2012 to October 2017, was “the most ambitious, extensive, and productive” modern slavery network ever uncovered.
She said the defendants had “exposed the victims to a” half-life of misery and poverty “and robbed them of their dignity and humanity,” without regard to the rights of those affected “.
Shocking images reveal the dire conditions of their cramped accommodation, where a duvet is stuffed next to a dirty, clogged toilet.
Another picture showed dozens of bank cards fraudulently taken out on behalf of the victim and bundles of banknotes on a bed.
The jury heard the accounts of more than 90 victims, but it is believed that at least 350 more had passed through the gang’s hands.
A Polish victim was recruited in Poland with the promise of £ 300-450 a week and housing in the UK.
He was picked up by Wyrinski and Natkowski in the UK in February 2015 and brought back to a two-bedroom house where eleven people live without beds, heating, hot water or cooking facilities.
He was not allowed out alone and was followed everywhere.
Three weeks later he was taken to an employment agency and bank account opening agency but was not given any cards.
During those three weeks he worked 12-13 hours a day for a total of 10 pounds.
He described being attacked by Wyrwinski and being watched and monitored by Natkowski.
Natkowski and Wywrinski acted as enforcers to intimidate the victims into fleeing.
Natkowski often met victims of human trafficking in the UK and brought them back to a rented two or three bedroom house with limited hot water and heating.
Vyvrinsky lived with the victims in the houses and verbally and physically verbally abused them so that they would not dare to flee.
Handy appeared to be a legitimate employer providing jobs to those exploited by the slave gang.
His communication with gang members showed that he knew exactly what was going on.
He discussed how the various workers are managed and the agreements on the level of wages and where the wages are paid.
A CPS spokesman said: “His willingness to turn a blind eye to the misery inflicted on the exploited people was underscored by the discovery of inadequate records and reports from witnesses who did not understand the terms of their employment.
“His driving motive, greed, was underscored by his attempts to hide the profits he was making from HMRC.
“Without his active cooperation, it would have been much more difficult for the slavery gang to find work for the exploited and to siphon off the money earned through slave labor.
“The CPS has proven that cell phones ignore the suffering of others in the pursuit of personal financial gain.
“Handy’s belief shows that not only did he knowingly benefit from mistreating others, but he maximized his profits by hiding his money from HMRC.”
The trio was caught when the CPS exposed the exchange of text messages between them.
You will be sentenced at a later date.