Three men face jail under UK Modern Slavery Act for coercing Latvians out of fake debt

Three Welsh men face jail after being convicted of forcing vulnerable Latvian immigrants to pay back mounting ‘debts’, including fictitious amounts to pay for Brexit. I was.

Normunds Freibergs, 40, Jacobus Stankevicius, 59, and his wife Ruta Stankeviciene, 57, were convicted at Newport Criminal Court under an English court. modern slavery law A verdict will be handed down in October.

The court heard that Rolands Kazoks, 31, lived in Germany and accessed a Latvian website. Draugiemto find a job in the UK, according to press release From the Gangmasters and Labor Abuse Authority (GLAA).

He got in touch with Freiberg, who pretended to work for a recruitment agency.

Freiberg promised him a job in a bakery, paying only £85 ($100) a week in rent. Cazock traveled to the Welsh town of Newport and moved in with Stankevicius and his wife.

They charged Kazoku £50 ($60) for a national insurance number, £300 ($355) to get a job in a poultry processing plant, and reduced his living expenses to initially £95 ($110), Then it went up to £150 ($175). Blame it on the cost of Brexit.

Warns of ‘bad guys’ coming after Latvian families

If he questioned his debt, which had ballooned to £2,000 ($2,370) with interest added, he was threatened with violence and warned that Latvian “bad people” would attack his family if he tried to leave. did.

The couple ridiculed Kazoku for stinking, but refused to take a shower every day.

The trio also took control of his passport and bank card and stole a package sent by his relatives.

Kazoks told investigators that he was assaulted by Freibergs and Stankevicius and at times struggled to breathe properly.

Freiberg was convicted of forced labor and human trafficking but was acquitted of his actions as an unlicensed gang leader. Stankevicius and Stankeviciene were also convicted of forced labor or forced labour.

GLAA said it launched an investigation in October 2018 after a bona fide recruitment agency voiced concerns after hearing rumors among staff at the Abergavenny chicken plant.

They discovered that his wages of around £500 ($600) a week were being paid into an online bank account controlled by the trio.

The Kazoks have since moved to another part of the UK to join the National Referral Mechanism to help trafficked migrants.

GLAA investigator Laura Thomas said in a statement: Debt bondage, where exploiters control victims and trap them in an endless cycle of perceived debt that can never realistically be repaid, is unfortunately something that our organizations encounter all too often.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.