A family who trafficked, enslaved and forced a man to work unpaid for almost five years, has been jailed.
31-year-old Damian Siwak, 25-year-old Kyrstian Siwak and 47-year-old Rozalia Siwak, all from Bolton, were found guilty of facilitating the arrival in the UK of a man with the intention of exploitation and of forced labour offences.
Early, February 2016, Damian was jailed for three years and four months, while Kyrstian and Rozalia both received sentences of two years and three months.
The court heard how the 46-year-old victim was approached in his native Poland in September 2010 and offered a job in the UK, being told he would work ‘a good wage for an honest day’s work’.
Upon landing in the UK – having met Kyrstian at an address in Poland – he was taken to the Siwaks’ home address on Greenland Road, Bolton. After being told the airfare would deducted from his wages, his identification documents were taken away from him for ‘safe-keeping’. He never saw them again.
The victim was immediately put to work, carrying out 10 to 12 hour night shifts a day, alongside Damian for six months, without ever receiving payment.
Over the course of the following 18 months, between mid-2011 and the end of 2012, the victim continued to work for what he believed was an agency, mainly carrying out construction work.
The victim was never given any of the money he earned, and instead the Siwak family fed, clothed, gave him accommodation and paid him in cider.
The victim described the clothes as ‘shabby’, told officers he was given leftovers rather than actual meals. He was not allowed to get anything from the fridge and in his own words was introduced to ‘gypsy’ rules.
He was effectively kept under the complete control of the Siwak family, and regularly received beatings from both Kyrstian and Damian.
He ran away on several occasions, but when found by the Siwak family, he was severely beaten and told he would be buried in a forest, if he attempted to escape again.
This treatment continued for many months, and a growing alcohol dependency alongside poor meals and terrible treatment meant the 46-year-old soon became increasingly malnourished and physically weak.
After nearly five years of suffering at the hands of these men, the victim finally managed to escape in June 2015.
On 8 June 2015, the victim fell from a ladder and broke his ankle; an injury which forced Siwak to take him to Royal Bolton Hospital for treatment.
Concerned hospital staff discovered that he had been subject to years of servitude at the hands of the Siwak family. They immediately rang the police and officers rushed to safeguard the victim.
Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Mossop said: “This is a harrowing case and involves one of the longest periods of enslavement and forced labour that I have ever come across.
“I cannot imagine the mental anguish suffered by this man, spending five years of his life at the beck and call of a family intent on exploiting him to the fullest extent.
“Worse still, whenever he did not do what they wanted, they beat him.
“Luckily, this man’s story does have a relatively happy ending.
“I am delighted to say that now, after superb work by our partner agencies such as the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Salvation Army, the victim has been sober for months, has made excellent steps with his physical recovery and has started to look for paid work”.