Five-year slavery order for man suspected of exploiting vulnerable workers
14th February 2022
A man suspected of threatening and exploiting vulnerable workers at a meat processing factory in the south-west of England has had tough conditions placed on him by court.
North Somerset Magistrates’ Court imposed a five-year Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO) on Catalin Victor Gergely at a hearing in Weston-super-Mare on Friday February 11.
Investigations by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) concluded that an order was necessary to protect members of the public from any potential future criminality.
Information received by the GLAA said that workers were living in overcrowded conditions and were forced to work to pay off debts to Gergely, leaving them with little money for their food.
The civil order means that the 31-year-old is bound by four strict conditions which, if breached, will result in criminal prosecution.
Gergely is prevented from arranging or paying for anyone’s travel into or out of the UK, other than for immediately family members.
The order forbids him from arranging either travel or transport of anyone to work other than for his own immediate family.
Gergely must also not arrange or assist anyone’s work or assist them in finding employment.
The final condition prevents him from procuring, coercing or instructing anyone to rent or sub-let any property or rooms controlled by them or any other accommodation which is owned, controlled or rented by them.
Gergely, of Marghita, Bihor County, has returned to his native Romania and was not present in court for the hearing.
GLAA Investigating Officer Gemma Kirby said: “The GLAA has been successful in securing several orders such as these across many parts of the UK over the last two years. We have found them to be an effective tool in protecting the public from potential slavery or human trafficking-related harm.
“Having this order in place until 2027 means that we are able to tackle any future misdemeanours swiftly and decisively.
“We will regularly monitor the order and will not hesitate to act if we find that it is not being complied with fully.”
Breaching the order is a criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
If you suspect someone is being exploited for their labour, contact the GLAA’s intelligence team on 0800 4320804 or email email@example.com.
Alternatively, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.