A man has been jailed for three years after admitting human trafficking, forced labour and money laundering.
Denis Paczkowski, 38, brought two vulnerable men from Poland to Nottingham with the promise of work but then took control of their bank accounts and only gave each of them £20 a week to live on.
He and his partner Sara Dabrowska, 30, who also admitted money laundering, then used the proceeds of this modern slavery to fund their lifestyle.
One of the victims, now aged 40, was previously homeless and was targeted at a homeless shelter in Gdansk, Poland, because of his vulnerability. He came to England in May 2015 and lived with Paczkowski and Dabrowska at their home in Fulwood Crescent, Aspley.
He was forced to open bank accounts by the couple, but had no control over it – and despite making an average of £265 a week working at Sports Direct in Shirebrook he only received £20 a week. Later they paid him £45 a week – to compensate for his £5-a-day travel expenses.
His bedroom had no curtains and his bed was a mattress on the floor. He was afraid of Paczkowski, who was often abusive and threatening toward him and twice physically slapped him.
The other victim, also a Polish national and now aged 52, was also only given £20 a week from his wages from Sports Direct and came to the attention of police after seeking help at Framework homeless shelter on August 2016 and reporting he was a victim of human trafficking and was living in fear of violence.
A complex investigation into bank accounts and mobile phone records helped detectives piece together the exploitation that Paczkowski and Dabrowska had benefited from.
Paczkowski admitted human trafficking, forced labour and money laundering when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court. He was today (Tuesday 4 June) sentenced to three years in custody and made the subject of a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order for ten years. A breach of the order can lead to up to five years imprisonment.
Dabrowska admitted money laundering and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment – suspended for two years.
A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order totalling £42,508 for the pair was also ordered by the court.
Detective Sergeant Mike Ebbins, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a complex investigation with vulnerable victims brought into this country with the sole purpose of being exploited. One victim was made homeless in Poland after his parents had passed away and his family home taken away from him; he was targeted by the offenders who promised him a better life in the UK but on arriving he was made to work long hours for no money.
“Evidence was obtained across two countries with assistance from the Polish authorities proving vital in identifying further victims of crime.
“Praise should go to Detective Constable Patryk Krasinski who worked tirelessly to get this to trial, supporting his victims and working closely with his colleagues in Poland.
“Combatting slavery remains a priority for Nottinghamshire Police and this result should send a strong message that modern slavery will not be tolerated in Nottinghamshire.”