A Hungarian slave master who forced vulnerable victims to work 12 hours a day for little or no pay while they lived in squalid conditions has been jailed.
Miroslav Bily, 51, travelled to the Czech Republic to pick up the slaves and offered them a “good home” before making them work for as little as 35p an hour.
A court heard the “parasitic individual” would pocket the cash they earned in order to pay off his own debts.
Meanwhie, his victims were forced to live in poor conditions and work long hours, doing tasks such as painting, decorating and gardening.
Shocking pictures show the filthy conditions they were forced to live in, with some living in a mould-filled house in Derby which had dangerous electric wiring and no heating or hot water.
Other were made to reside in a small cramped caravan in Chellaston, Derbys., with some having to sleep on the floor.
He was finally caught when one of his victims tried to escape and was found with no food, money, or grasp of English by a concerned member of the public who called for an ambulance.
Bily, of Derby, admitted to five counts of human trafficking and was jailed for three years and nine months at Derby Crown Court on Monday (11/12).
Sentencing, Judge Peter Cooke, said: “Exploitation of fellow human beings in any way represents deliberate degrading of their value as human beings.
“You played the role of recruiter and transporter.
“You went looking for your victims. You carried out a programme of exploiting them.
“Yes, you provided accommodation but little more than bare bones.
“You fed them. You provided cigarettes and alcohol. But you did not pay them.”
The court heard how the operation was a “profoundly cynical scheme” and was a case of “not low pay, it was no pay”.
Martin Hurst, prosecuting, told how Bily “knew where to go abroad and he would target people who were down on their luck and offer them work” before bringing them to Britain via ferry.
He said: “The defendant brought vulnerable people to this city in order to put them to work.
“He had the view, when bringing them here, he was going to exploit them.
“He felt he needed a workforce – but it’s perfectly clear this was based entirely on exploitation.
“He knew the places to go.
“He would approach them. He would promise a good home.
“But they lived in squalid conditions.”
One of the victims, Rudolph Csorba, 52, told police: “In a nutshell, while I was working for him, we had to go to work from 9am to 7pm.
“We had to go to work every single day, except Sunday.
“When we refused, he said we had to because he needed more people.
“It seemed like he knew a lot of people around Derby who could offer the work.
“When he showed me my room, I could see that the room was unfurnished, with just three or four mattresses.
“There were three of us altogether. One of us had a perfect room in my view, because it was furnished.
“The other two, we had to live in rooms where there were just these mattresses. The whole house was dirty.
“We weren’t paid a single penny. When I had been there for about 20 days, I asked him where is the money I have been earning. He said he didn’t have any.
“But when I went to work that day, I could see he was paying cash in hand to someone. So I asked him to stop the car because I was in pain.
When I saw this, I could see the situation I was in but I couldn’t do anything and I was terrified of what would happen.
“I had no money on me so there was nothing I could do.
“He took us to work and said he would pay us every single week.
“After I had been there about 20 days, I asked him where the money was that I had earned.
“He said he didn’t have any money and I would have to wait at least another week.
“I wasn’t happy in the house because it was so unhygienic so I asked to stay in the caravan instead.
“It wasn’t great but at least I could have a shower.
“One day when he was taking us to work, I confronted him again about money and he said he didn’t have any and I got out of the car and started walking.
“A Ukrainian woman found me and got me some water and said she was going to call an ambulance.
“When the paramedic saw me, she said she recognised what had happened to me and she called the police.
“They came straight away and I told them what had happened to me. When I was with the police, I didn’t feel frightened any more.”
Detective Chief Inspector Rick Alton, of Derbyshire Police, said after the case: “We are very, very satisfied with that sentence.
“It is a significant prison sentence which reflects the seriousness of the crime. It sends a clear message out that exploitation in the UK, Derby and Derbyshire will not be tolerated.
“This crime can happen anywhere. We would encourage people to report the signs. We’re very pleased and proud with this result.”