A modern slavery victim was forced to live with little food and sleep in cramped conditions on a sofa after being given only a small percentage of his wages despite working long shifts at two local businesses.
His wages and credit card were controlled and taken by 35-year-old Elvis Scripcaru who told the victim that he was paid so little because of taxes.
The victim lost thousands of pounds of wages having worked in Nottinghamshire for three months, with the offender using the proceeds of this modern slavery to fund his and his family’s lifestyle.
The 29-year-old vulnerable victim was trafficked originally from Romania to the Republic of Ireland before arriving in the United Kingdom on a ferry where he was told he would work shorter hours, with double the pay from his time in his homeland.
He was promised paid work by Scripcaru in England and within a week he was in Nottinghamshire and was told he would earn £8.40 an hour picking vegetables, however he would need to pay back transport, food, cigarettes and rent.
He moved in with Scripcaru to a house in Radford where he slept on a sofa in the living room. He was only given 30 pounds a week from his wages to live on.
He would work the late shift for six days, but his wages were paid directly into Scripcaru’s account and he received only a small percentage of the money he should have been paid.
The victim eventually reported Scripcaru’s crimes to the agency that provided him with work at a vegetable packing factory in Nottingham and a chocolate factory in Derby after he couldn’t afford to eat, who then contacted the police
A complex investigation into bank accounts and mobile phone records helped detectives piece together the exploitation that Scripcaru had benefited from.
Scripcaru, of Falcon Grove in New Basford, was charged with arranging or facilitate the travel of another with a view to exploitation, requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and possession of criminal property namely cash.
He was found guilty to all three offences and sentenced to three years four months at Nottingham Crown Court on following a trial and was issued with a 10-year Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Matthew Wakeling said: “This was a really complex investigation for Nottinghamshire Police’s modern slavery team, with a vulnerable victim brought into this country with the sole purpose of being exploited.
“He was targeted by the offenders who promised him a better life in the UK, but on arriving he was made to work long hours for no money.
“The victim had been forced to work for little or no pay. The victim is still currently being supported by specialist officers from Nottinghamshire Police and partner agencies.”
Detective Inspector Paul Lefford from the force’s dedicated Modern Slavery team said: “I hope today’s sentence sends a clear message out that if you exploit another for your own gain you will be arrested and dealt with accordingly.
“The Modern Slavery Act was implemented to protect the vulnerable and prevent exploitation. I would like also to thank the Crown Prosecution Service, the witness care team and most importantly the victim who returned to Nottingham from Romania for this trial.
“He was supported throughout this case by DC Matthew Wakeling and the witness care team.
“DC Wakeling built a strong rapport with the victim from the start of this investigation and even though he returned to Romania he has continued to support him throughout this difficult time. Matt has done a fantastic job in achieving some justice and hopefully some closure for the victim.
“We work very closely with partner agencies to investigate and respond to concerns regarding anyone who is potentially a victim of modern day slavery.
“Combatting slavery remains a priority for Nottinghamshire Police and this result should send a strong message that modern slavery will not be tolerated in Nottinghamshire.
“Increased awareness and training for first responders has significantly improved the way this type of abuse is being tackled. I would urge anyone with concerns regarding someone being exploited to contact the Police or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.”