Four sentenced for trafficking offences
31 May 2017 09:00 AM[View Full Size]
Four men have today been sentenced to a total of 32 years for their part in a conspiracy which saw significant numbers of Polish nationals trafficked to the UK to be exploited as modern slaves.
Sebastian Mandzik, Robert Majewski, Pawel Majewski and Seweryn Szymt were all involved in a large scale operation which transported vulnerable people into the country on the promise of well-paid work. The victims were housed in cramped conditions and forced into menial labour, with their wages being paid into specially set up bank accounts over which the criminal group had complete control. Any resistance on the part of their victims was met with violence and intimidation by the gang.
Sebastian Mandzik was sentenced to a total of 12 years (7 concurrent for counts 1,2&3) and 5 years consecutive for money laundering.
Robert Majewski a total 8 yrs (5yrs counts 1&2 and 3 yrs money laundering),
Pawel Majewski total 7 yrs (4yrs and 3yrs money laundering),
Szmy total 5yrs.
Detective Superintendent Steve Barron 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”.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird DBE QC, said: “We take human trafficking and exploitation very seriously. We all need to be vigilant in spotting the signs – so if something doesn’t seem right, the chances are it’s not. I will ensure Northumbria Police continues to be proactive in tackling this very important issue.”