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Romanian ‘slaves’ paid less than £2 an hour and forced to share squalid mattresses

Mihai Varga gangmaster
Mihai Varga has been jailed for contemporary slavery offences
West Midlands Police

A gangmaster who introduced Jap Europeans into the UK then paid them lower than £2 ($2.80) per hour has been jailed for slavery offences.

Mihai Varga shuttled the boys to a meals processing manufacturing unit in Staffordshire for 12-hour shifts however handed over simply £20 a day to every of them after taking a big reduce for himself.

His 5 Romanian victims, aged between 26 and 50, shared a cramped bed room at his house in Ashwin Highway, Handsworth, close to Birmingham.

The boys have been compelled to share mattresses and sleep on the ground in what police described as “squalid situations”.

They acquired their meagre funds fully unaware that the UK Dwelling Wage was £7 an hour.

Varga, 39, was convicted of greater than 20 trendy slavery offences and jailed for 5 years at Birmingham Crown Court docket on 14 February.

He was arrested in September 2017 following a joint investigation by West Midlands Police, the Nationwide Crime Company and the Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority.

Detective Constable Nick McCullogh, mentioned: “We consider Varga had been exploiting employees from Jap Europe over a number of years and investigations to establish different victims is on-going.

“That is the 21st century and we’re dedicated to tackling folks trafficking and trendy slavery. We’re regularly trying to elevate consciousness of what’s nonetheless a hidden crime and want the assistance of the general public if they believe somebody of being an unlicensed gangmaster.”

Birmingham Crown Court
Varga was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court docket
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Michael Heyes, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) Investigating Officer, added: “There are manipulative, devious and merciless women and men in each nook of the nation proper now exploiting employees for a good-looking revenue.

“Many victims aren’t conscious that almost all of the wage they’re incomes goes to their exploiter, or that they’re entitled to vacation pay, sick pay or days off to relaxation. The fundamental rights you and I get pleasure from in our jobs are withheld from hard-working individuals who deserve higher.”

The Fashionable Slavery Act is more and more used to prosecute individuals who exploit international employees. In January, three individuals who compelled Vietnamese women and girls to work for nothing in nail bars across the nation have been jailed below the Act. In August final yr, some 11 members of the identical Irish Traveller family were convicted of exploiting vulnerable men over a number of years.

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