Slovak brothers convicted of trafficking within the UK

Two brothers, found to have exploited fellow Slovak nationals living in the Medway towns in Kent, have been sentenced to six years each in prison.

Thu, 19 May 2016

Two brothers, found to have exploited fellow Slovak nationals living in the Medway towns in Kent, have been sentenced to six years each in prison.

Marian Dzuga, of Windsor Road in Gillingham, and Jozef Dzuga, of Salisbury Road in Chatham, were found guilty of trafficking within the UK with intent to exploit following a month-long trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate began an investigation after one of the victims went into a police station in September 2012 to report he had been the victim of human trafficking and labour exploitation. The victim revealed he had been homeless in Slovakia in 2005 when the brothers approached him and persuaded him to move to the UK on the promise there would be accommodation and work awaiting him.

The brothers were found to have taken control of the victim’s bank account and, although he was living at an address in Chatham, he was made to work all over the country.

The victim said he was made to work 40-60 hours per week, earning up to £240 a week, but seeing very little of his wages – just £5 to £40 a week was being passed on to him.

Supported by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), HM Revenue & Customs, the Red Cross and the Department for Work and Pensions warrants were carried out in November 2013 at the brothers’ home addresses in Chatham, where a number of victims were found to be forced to live in squalid conditions and threatened with violence if they did not comply with their supervisor’s instructions. The victims were found to be working in a number of different industries, including the food industry.

All the victims, four of which gave evidence during the trial, revealed they had been brought into the country on the promise of work and accommodation.

The brothers were found to have bought the victims’ coach tickets and got them into the country, helping them to set up bank accounts but taking away their documents which police later found in the addresses. The brothers were also found to have kept most of the victims’ wages to fund their gambling habits.

Marian and Jozef Dzuga were both convicted of one count: trafficking within the UK with intent to exploit. Jozef Dzuga was found not guilty of three other charges, while Marian Dzuga was not guilty of two other charges and the jury was hung on one count of trafficking.

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