A man wanted in Poland who moved to the UK to escape arrest was sentenced to 18 months in prison when he appeared at Kingston Crown Court yesterday (31 March).
Wladyslaw Kieruc, 55, of no fixed abode and originally from Bialystok in Poland, was arrested in November 2020 at a brothel in Colliers Wood, London. He was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on behalf of a team of detectives from Surrey Police conducting a joint investigation with the Polish police into human trafficking and modern slavery offences by an organised criminal group.
Kieruc provided a false name and date of birth and presented documentation to suit his identity.
Due to suspicions Kieruc may have been using a false identity, detectives compared fingerprints taken from him in custody and compared them to those held on the Polish database.
Confirmation of Wladyslaw Kieruc’s real identity was confirmed when detectives learned he had previously absconded from a prison in Poland and had been wanted on a local Polish warrant since January 2016.
It emerged that since arriving in the UK, Kieruc had acquired a lost or stolen identity card of an innocent person to build up criminal cautions and convictions for theft and possession of a firearm during his time in the UK.
Kieruc was sentenced for perverting the cause of justice in conjunction with an investigation into modern slavery and human trafficking offences.
Extradition proceedings will now begin to return him to Polish custody.
Detective Sergeant Martyn Linton, who led the investigation said: “Kieruc had been avoiding the Polish authorities for some time and came to the UK to hide under a falsely adopted identity of an innocent person.
“If it had not been for the joint efforts of Surrey, the Metropolitan and Polish Police – Kieruc would still be evading justice today.”
Modern slavery takes a number of forms including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation. Often the person is forced or compelled to work and they are often controlled by an ‘employer’, usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse, both to them and their families.
Last year, the number of victims in the UK hit a record high, with more than 10,000 potential victims of trafficking, slavery and forced labour identified – men, women and children.
It can include victims that have been brought from overseas or vulnerable people being forced to work against their will in many different sectors – including brothels, nail bars, factories, car washes, construction and agriculture.
Sadly, we know it is happening right now in Surrey and we expect the number of people being exploited and trapped to rise even further as lockdown restrictions ease.
You probably see people who are in slavery on a regular basis. They don’t have shackles, they might appear ordinary, but look closer and you might spot more worrying traits. Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Appear to be under the control of someone else and reluctant to interact with others,
- Not have personal identification on them,
- Have few personal belongings, wear the same clothes every day or wear unsuitable clothes for work,
- Not be able to move around freely,
- Be reluctant to talk to strangers or the authorities,
- Appear frightened, withdrawn, or show signs of physical or psychological abuse,
- Dropped off and collected for work always in the same way, especially at unusual times (i.e. very early or late at night).
We know that it can feel awkward or a bit embarrassing when you suspect but are not absolutely certain that modern slavery is happening. Its hidden nature makes it more difficult to spot. But sometimes, you’ll have a hunch that something is just not right.
That’s where your information could be the difference between freeing a victim from danger and getting them the support they so desperately need, to bringing those behind this heinous crime to justice.