LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A man who trafficked four Poles into Britain and forced them to work in a laundry before taking their wages has been jailed for 18 months, police said on Thursday.
Jonatan Majewski, 26, who lived in London, lured three men and one woman from Poland with the promise of well-paid jobs before forcing them to work in a laundry in nearby Essex for more than 12 hours a day, six days a week, police said.
“He deceived them with the promise of a better life, offering a job with a regular wage, which was higher than they could earn in Poland,” said James Greenaway from the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit at London’s Metropolitan Police.
“In reality they were made to work very long hours and had the majority of their wages withheld,” he said in a statement.
Britain passed the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 to crack down on traffickers and protect people at risk of being enslaved.
Police said the four victims were able to escape after seeking help from colleagues at the commercial laundry.
Majewski was sentenced on Tuesday at Wood Green Crown Court in north London and pleaded guilty to one count of human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are more prevalent across Britain than previously thought, as international gangs increasingly realize the trade can make significant profits, the National Crime Agency said in August.
At least 13,000 victims are estimated to be victims of modern slavery in Britain, but police say the figure is just the tip of the iceberg.
British Prime Minister Theresa May last week pledged to double the country’s aid spending on global projects tackling the crime, and boost training for police and prosecutors.
Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, gender equality, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories