According to the charity, the investigation was launched back in 2015, after victims of the slavery ring started showing up at a local soup kitchen and aid workers "quickly spotted commonalities" in their stories "suggesting an organised criminal conspiracy." The charity swiftly contacted the police.
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) 5 июля 2019 г.
The charity noted that eight members of the slavery ring had already been "convicted of slavery, trafficking and money-laundering offences during two trials." Five of them have already received sentences between 4.5 years and 11 years.
The court, the NGO says, "heard the traumatic stories of 110 victims of the gang," however, both police and the charity believe that some 400 could have gone through the gang’s hands.
"Victims supported by Hope for Justice were forced to live and work in atrocious conditions, in squalid houses often with no heating or hot water, leaking toilets, infested by rats. They were put to work in the construction industry, factories and other places, and paid nothing at all or a tiny sliver of what they had earned, with the traffickers controlling everything. The gang used intimidation, threats and violence to keep their victims under control", the charity said.
The Guardian, meanwhile, reported that the slavery ring, identified by the newspaper as the Brzezinski family, literally preyed on the homeless and ex-prisoners, as well as people with alcohol dependence issues.
The gang's bosses, in turn, purportedly lived luxury life, driving premium cars, such as Bentley, and wearing lavish clothes.