A “physical and mental bully” has been jailed for six years and three months for trafficking four men to the UK and exploiting them to work as slaves.
Barnaby Shaw, for the prosecutiion, said the facts of the case resembled “a Charles Dickens novel”.
Dawid Siwak, 30, of Southsea, Hampshire, but originally from Poland, was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court of four offences of people trafficking and four charges of holding a person in servitude.
Sentencing Siwak, Judge Roger Hetherington said of the victims: “They felt they were trapped and they were trapped by a combination of enforced poverty, intermittent violence and threats of violence against them, and a general feeling of helplessness with no one to turn to for help. The best way I can describe it is systematic bullying of vulnerable individuals so you could feather your own nest.”
He told Siwak: “You are a physical and mental bully.”
The court heard that although the victims came willingly from Poland to the UK, Siwak subjected them to violence and threats, forcing them to obey his commands and to hand over their wages to him.
The trial was told that Siwak housed the four men in crowded flats in Portsmouth between June 2011 and May 2012.
He ordered them to work in legitimate jobs such as salad packing but made the men hand over their bank cards, which he used to take control of their earnings.