Man Sentenced for Human Trafficking (3 Mar 2017)

Dawid _zeilinski _7.6.92West Yorkshire Police has disrupted an international organised crime group trading in slavery after a Polish man was given a ten year Slavery Trafficking Prevention Order and sentenced to four years in prison.

Dawid Zielinkski, 24, of Dendridge Close, Enfield, was found guilty of two charges of arranging or facilitating the travel of another for exploitation contrary to section 2(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. He was also found guilty of one charge of conspiracy to require another to perform forced or compulsory labour contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

He was found guilty on Tuesday (February 28) and sentenced yesterday (Thursday, March 2) at Bradford Crown Court.

The Slavery Trafficking Prevention Order imposes a number of conditions the defendant must adhere to, including not being able to employ anyone or facilitating accommodation or transport for others.

It comes following a nationwide investigation into modern day slavery (also known as human trafficking) after a woman and two men came to West Yorkshire Police in January 2016 to report they were victims whilst residing in the Bradford District.

They were then accepted into the National Referral Mechanism process which is a framework for identifying victims and ensuring they receive the appropriate support.

With the victims appropriately safeguarded, the criminal investigation began and in April 2016 a further five victims were recovered from an address in Bradford who were re-housed and supported. It was then in August 2016 that Zielinkski was arrested, subsequently charged and remanded in custody.

During the investigations officers were told how socially disadvantaged individuals or those with alcohol or substance dependencies would be targeted in Poland and then brought over to the UK on the promise of regular, well paid employment.

On arrival, however, they were housed in poor conditions and then registered with employment agencies. Physical control would be exerted over victims and they would be transported to and from work. Bank accounts and lines of credit were also opened in the victims' names along with numerous loans, utility and mobile phone accounts opened.

Detective Chief Inspector Warren Stevenson, of the Protective Services (Crime) team, was in charge of the enquiry. He said: "Human trafficking is a hidden crime, and causes misery and suffering to people often simply wanting to make a living to support themselves and their loved ones, whether at home or abroad. Those who exploit people for their own ends have no place in a civilised society and we are committed to tackling this despicable crime.

"Investigations tend to be challenging and complex and this case has been no different. We have worked extensively with agencies across the country and in Europe throughout with the team determined to get justice for the victims. The successful conviction, and the prevention order and sentence is a testament to their hard work and dedication.

"I hope the Slavery Trafficking Prevention Order and sentence not only sends out a clear message to those who commit these heinous offences in West Yorkshire that you are not welcome in our communities, but also that we will thoroughly investigate all allegations of human trafficking and do everything we can to bring you to justice.

"I also hope that the victims in this case can now begin to move forward with their lives and put this traumatic and terrible experience behind them.

"We would seek to reassure anyone who is, or who has been a victim of modern slavery, that in coming forward, you will be taken seriously, dealt with sensitively and provided with specialist support. You will be believed. We will help.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the other authorities, agencies and charities in the UK and Poland who have been involved in this case and supported us in bringing justice for the victims."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "Yesterday's sentencing sends a clear message to people like Dawid Zielinksi who think they can make an easy living off other people's suffering.

"West Yorkshire Police and our partners have done a fantastic job of investigating these allegations and providing the victims with comprehensive support.

"Those who benefit from trafficking others need to know that justice will catch up with them, and victims should know that in West Yorkshire the resources and support are in place to protect them. I would also urge anyone with suspicions of human trafficking activity taking place to contact the police or the Modern Slavery Helpline with their concerns."

If you have been the victim of human trafficking or modern day slavery call police on 101. Information can also be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2017