Two brothers jailed after admitting trafficking Slovak and Czech men into Britain

Brothers jailed for ‘dehumanising’ their exploited workers

Crime Correspondent

The victims of a trafficking and labour racket run by two brothers were forced to carry out their own self-surgery after being denied medical treatment while exploited in a series of menial jobs.

Igor and Marek Marcin promised Slovak and Czech men a better life in Derby but forced them to sleep together on mattresses on the floor in a bug-infested bedroom before putting them to work for minimal wages.

The men were not allowed to see doctors, with one forced to remove his own tooth, and another perforated his eardrum while dealing with ear-ache. Other victims forced to work in a car wash had their feet burned because they were wearing only slippers.

The 12 men were paid as little as £5 a week, but the brothers seized benefits of more than £100,000. The brothers’ wives also stole the victims’ money. While the men lived and worked in squalor, the two brothers drove around in luxury cars, including a top-end Mercedes.

Jailing the Slovakian Marcin brothers yesterday, Judge Jonathan Gosling told them they had cynically targeted the men who led aimless lives with few family members to miss them in their homelands. “In a word, these men were dehumanised,” he said.

The men were fed at set meal times, had no access to the internet and did not mix with anybody else. Their passports were taken away, they were forced to open bank accounts, and they were paid pocket money during three years of exploitation.

“There were four of us in one room,” said one victim, Frantisek Ruzicka, 44, in a video statement released by police. “I would wake up at 3am and you are being eaten alive by these flat beetles. You have got all these spots all over the place. At 6am, you are supposed to be getting up and going to work.

“I was working in a flower factory and you have bites all over the place and you want to scratch yourself but you can’t. The itching was terrible, I really couldn’t cope.”

Marek Marcin, 40, slapped one of the men around the face when he complained about his treatment, Derby Crown Court was told.

He and his brother Igor, 36, – who received the longest jail term of just over four years – both admitted immigration offences at an earlier hearing. Their wives, Gabriela Marcinova, 42, and Dagmar Marcinova, 38, also admitted stealing from the men and were given short jail terms.

The men’s ordeal ended when they went to the Salvation Army for help. Police raided several houses over the city in July last year and found 12 victims of trafficking. All but three of the men have returned to their home countries.

Detective Inspector Emlyn Richards, who led the police investigation, said: “Some of the men had chemical burns where they had been made to work at car washes in just their slippers. The chemicals had seeped through the footwear and burnt their skin.

“One victim told of how he removed his own tooth because he was denied access to a dentist. We were also told of a man who had suffered constant earache but was denied medical treatment. To end the pain he was in, he perforated his own ear drum.

“Another victim told us how over several months he had managed to save about £55, which he intended to use to escape and buy a flight home. He returned from working one day to find his room had been searched and the money had been stolen.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor