Two men involved in a major human trafficking ring where people were forced into modern-day slavery have been jailed.
Janos Orsos and Ferenc Illes lured fellow Hungarians to West Yorkshire, masterminding a sophisticated scam in which the men would work 60 hours a week for as little as £20.
Their victims were forced to live in severely cramped squalid rooms with others and left in fear of violence if they protested.
Orsos, 43, of Lascelles Road, Heckmondwike, led the abuse and was jailed for five years by Judge Peter Armstrong at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
It is thought he made £60,000 from the conspiracy in which his victims were sent to work in Bradford, Dewsbury and Wakefield.
Illes, 25, of Beckett Walk, Dewsbury, was sentenced to three years.
The pair were due to face a six-week trial with 13 witnesses who had been trafficked by the pair, until they pleaded guilty.
Orsos 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.
Illes was convicted of conspiracy to traffic a person within the UK for exploitation.
Operation Tavernhouse, which resulted in the men’s conviction, began in July 2013 after one victim who had left West Yorkshire contacted anti-human trafficking charity Hope For Justice.
The 20-year-old revealed he had been the victim of offences in 2011 and passed information to officers.
More victims soon came forwards and others were identified.
As the case progressed, offences from as far back as 2011 were disclosed to officers.
Among those exploited was a 45-year-old woman, who after coming to the UK in 2013, became a house skivvy, 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.
A Hungarian man was put up at a flat in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, with ten others – they were given just £2 a week between them to live on. In total, he worked more than 21 weeks for £30 and lost more than ten kilos.
Hope for Justice’s director of operations Allan Doherty, a former chief superintendent in Bradford, said: “This case highlights the issues of human trafficking and I know people hearing this sickening story today will be shocked that slavery is happening in their towns.
“But the fact of the matter is that human trafficking is a significant and unacceptable problem in Britain in the 21st century.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, who is spearheading the creation of the national working group to tackle human trafficking head on, said: “This very sad case demonstrates yet again that human trafficking is an issue which exists within West Yorkshire and that fact cannot be ignored.”