Two Hungarians who lured their fellow countrymen to West Yorkshire have today been jailed for their role in a large scale human trafficking ring which forced their victims into near slavery.
Janos Orsos, 43, and Ferenc Illes, 25, were sentenced to five years and three years in prison at Teesside Crown Court for masterminding a sophisticated scam in which men were lured from Hungary to work 60 hours a week for as little as £20 a week.
Their victims were forced to live in severely cramped, multi-occupancy rooms in Dewsbury and left in fear of violence if they protested.
Illes, who was living in Dewsbury, was convicted of conspiracy to traffic a person within the UK for exploitation.
Orsos, who was living in Heckmondwike, was convicted of conspiracy to traffic a person into the UK for exploitation, conspiracy to traffic a person within the UK for exploitation, blackmail and converting criminal property, contrary to Section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Operation Tavernhouse which resulted in the men's conviction, began in July 2013 after one victim who had left West Yorkshire made contact with the charity Hope For Justice, who contacted West Yorkshire Police.
The 20-year-old revealed he had been the victim of offences in 2011, and passed information to officers through the charity to allow an investigation to begin.
More victims soon came forwards and others were identified, helping officers to build a case which identified the principle suspects.
Both were arrested towards the end of 2013.
As the case progressed, offences from as far back as 2011 were disclosed to officers who worked with the support of Hope for Justice, to build a case.
Among those exploited was a 45-year-old woman who after coming to the UK in summer 2013, became a house skivvy in Dewsbury where she was kept prisoner and forced to do housework for free. She was not given clothes and was only fed once a day during her captivity. She was later given more freedom and was able to flee and catch a train away from the town.
Also among the victims was a Hungarian man who, on arriving in Dewsbury, was put up at a flat in Ravensthorpe which was housing 11 people. Once there he was allocated a bunk bed without a sheet and found that all of them had been given just £2 a week between them to live on.
In total, he worked more than 21 weeks for just £30 and lost more than 10 kilos in weight.
– Detective Sergeant Paul Simm, Kirklees CID
We are pleased to see the conviction of Orsos and Illes today for offences which, quite simply, should not be taking place in 21st Century Britain. I am quite sure the notion that men and women were working in conditions of virtual slavery in their communities will horrify residents in Dewsbury and Heckmondwike. In these cases we have been presented with evidence of men and woman working long hours across various businesses and not being paid what they are owed. All the while they have were forced to live in cramped, squalid shared accommodation with a number of others."