West Midlands Police has rescued three men who were allegedly being used for slave labour at a Black Country bakery.
Anti-human trafficking officers arrested a Polish man following a raid in West Bromwich which found the men living in two cramped bedrooms.
The officers discovered that the men – all Polish nationals– received just £60 for working up to 50 hours a week at the bakery.
All three were taken to a police station but refused the offer of further support via the UK Human Trafficking Centre referral scheme.
A 24-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit human trafficking for labour exploitation. According to West Midlands Police, he has been bailed until next February pending further enquiries with bail conditions banning him from leaving the UK.
The latest activity forms part of a complex operation that has resulted in 10 Polish nationals arrested on suspicion of being part of an organised trafficking gang.
Eight men – aged between 23 and 50 – plus women aged 21-45 are on police bail while detectives investigate claims made by around 40 people that they were worked as slaves and threatened with violence.
West Midlands Police suspect as many as 100 people may have been exploited over the last two years.
“The men are telling us they are paid £120 a week but have to hand over half the money in rent…so they are left with just £60,” West Midlands Police detective chief inspector Nick Dale said.
“Clearly that’s not right; we now need to get to the bottom of their employment status, find out who arranged the work, and how they arrived in the country.”