Two human trafficking organizers in Bristol are looking at 25 years in prison after being taken down.
Maros Tancos and Joanna Gomulska, both 46, are a couple who have been running a human trafficking ring for several years. At least, 42 victims spoke to specialist officers, sharing with them evidence of their abuse.
As part of their scheme, the couple worked together to take advantage of foreigners, who were typically vulnerable or at-risk Slovakians. They convinced them to work for them under the guise that they would provide them with food, shelter and transportation to the United Kingdom. They also told them that they would be paid, but that half of their monthly earnings would go toward boarding and food.
While Tancos handled gathering workers, Gomulska took their identities and other personal information, including documents for identification. Gomulska only allowed the victims to use the items for applications or when they were needed for bank services. When the victims needed to go to appointments, Gomulska would act like she was their interpreter and steal their bank cards and pin numbers.
During the day, the enslaved workers performed duties at Tanco’s car wash company, and at night the couple had them perform tasks like packing milk or catching chickens. The victims told officials that all they knew was work and shared how the couple would beat and humiliate them.
The couple was arrested on suspicion of modern-day slavery and human trafficking charges back on in July 0f 2017. They were officially convicted after a three-month-long trial at Bristol Crown Court. The couple’s entire plot was created to fuel their gambling fund, the news outlet reports.
“Tancos and Gomulska treated their victims as possessions, exploiting their hope of a better life for themselves and their families to keep them in a never-ending cycle of abuse. They were prisoners,” wrote NCA Branch Commander Colin Williams. “The experiences they shared in court showed how mentally broken the couple left them. These people came from impoverished backgrounds to the UK with optimism but instead had their vulnerability taken advantage of. Whilst they suffered, Tancos and Gomulska spent their victims’ wages on gambling and cars.”