Two men have been jailed and two women given suspended sentences today for modern slavery offences.
Their victim was 51-year-old Polish man who had become homeless and alcohol dependant after losing his business, his wife leaving him and both of his parents dying within a short space of time – including his mother dying in his arms.
He was befriended by the family who offered him work in the UK and the promise that “life would be good”.
Initially, he was offered a driving job, driving people to and from work in the UK and he was asked if he has a driving licence. He was then told about the possibility of work in a cheese factory.
The family bought him a ticket to the UK and by 29 December 2017, he had arrived in Nottingham. He lived in Pullman Road, Sneinton, with the family – Anna Janczy, 56, her son Jan Burianski, 32, Jan’s wife Agnieszka Burianska, 32, and Anna’s grandson Roman Pawlowski, 19, who Anna raised as her own son.
When he arrived in the UK the victim was told to hand over his ID documents and he was not aware where these were kept. If he needed them for any meeting, such as when he was signed up for a job, the suspects would give them to him and he would have to hand them back on return.
He was found a job washing cars at a car showroom in January 2018 but all of his wages were paid into Burianska’s bank account and the victim never allowed to see his payslips and was not aware how much he was earning.
Whenever he asked about his wages he was told by Burianski they were low as he wasn’t working hard enough – even though he was working six days a week and earning around £270 a week. Then suddenly Burianski started saying there were debts that needed paying off first.
The victim received his wages as tobacco, two meals a day – sandwiches to take to work and dinner when he went home – and £4 a day for the bus fare to and from work. Burianski also once got him a pair of tracksuit trousers after he complained he had no clothes apart from his work attire.
On 19 August 2018, the victim attempted to escape the family and left the house, telling them he was going to work. During this time he felt suicidal due to the circumstances he was in and cut his wrists. An ambulance was called for him after he was found covered in blood.
However, after he was released from the hospital the family found him and took him back to the house.
Nottinghamshire Police’s modern slavery team attended the house on the following day and arrested the family and safeguarded the victim, getting him help through the National Referral Mechanism. He had no belongings except for clothes, which were mainly work clothes.
All four defendants denied the offences but were found guilty forced labour at a previous hearing. Burianski, Burianska and Pawlowski were also found guilty of human trafficking. They were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court today (Friday 26 April).
Burianski was jailed for two years for forced labour and four years concurrently for human trafficking, meaning a total sentence of four years.
Pawlowski was jailed for one year for forced labour and two years concurrently for human trafficking, meaning a total sentence of two years.
Burianska was sentenced to one year for forced labour and two years concurrently for human trafficking, but her total two-year sentence was suspended for two years.
And Janczy was sentenced to 18 months for forced labour, suspended for two years. She will also continue to have a tagged curfew.
Police Investigator Emma Lamb, who led the investigation, said: “I’m happy that the court has recognised the complexities of modern slavery cases and I would like to thank the victim for his bravery, on-going support and trust in the English justice system.
“The victim was not only trafficked into the country and forced to work for the family, but they also treated him very badly. The family would tell him that he smelt and was unhygienic. When he first arrived at the address they shaved his hair off as they said he might have nits. They also made him eat with separate cutlery and only gave him a spoon to eat his food.
“This kind of treatment of a person, particularly after coming to the UK from incredibly dire circumstances back home, is heart-breaking and I’m just glad he has now been safeguarded and is getting the support he needs.”