Joint Derby trafficking operation nominated for award
9th February 2015
A team which investigated a human trafficking case, and the fraud which surrounded it, has been nominated for a national award. Derbyshire police, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, Central Criminal Investigation Service, National Crime Agency and Derby Housing Benefit Fraud team have been nominated for a Fighting Fraud Award. The Collaboration Award recognises organisations which have worked together to fight fraud.
Two other teams have been nominated and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, February 10. The case, known as Operation Atwood, began in 2013 and saw agencies raid several houses across Derby that July.
Two couples were arrested and 12 victims of human trafficking were found. Last February, brothers Igor Marcin, of Amber Street, and Marek Marcin, of Cameron Road, were jailed for 92 months in total after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to trafficking in and within the UK. Igor was sentenced to 52 months while Marek received 40 months. Igor’s wife Dagmar Marcinova, who admitted fraud and theft, was sentenced to ten months. She took money from one of the victim’s bank accounts and stole cash from another. Marek’s wife Gabriela Marcinova pleaded guilty to theft after stealing money belonging to one of the victims. She was sentenced to eight months.
The brothers met their victims in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, promising them a better life in Derby. When the men arrived in the city, they were put into squalid rooms of up to four men sharing. They were made to work in car washes and factories and only received a small amount of their real earnings – the rest was taken by the brothers. The couples opened bank accounts, claimed benefits and arranged mobile phone contacts in the names of the victims.
When passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Gosling said:
“Their role, purely, was to act as vehicles through which you could make money.” Superintendent Paul Callum, who was part of the investigation team, said: “This was the first human trafficking case of its kind in Derby to be prosecuted.
“It showed us that by working closely with partners, we can tackle trafficking and bring the offenders to justice.
“I think every agency involved in this case learnt a great deal and we are now better equipped to deal with any similar cases in future.”
Gangmasters Licensing Authority Chief Executive Paul Broadbent added:
“The over-riding aim of the GLA is to work in partnership to protect vulnerable and exploited workers and Operation Atwood was a perfect illustration of this.
“By allowing each organisation to concentrate on what they do best in terms of expertise and experience we formed a hugely effective team and dismantled a well-established organised crime group quickly and efficiently.
“I am proud of the way my officers worked so closely with Derbyshire Constabulary to secure the best possible outcome at the end of a well-run and successful joint operation.”
Press release issued by GLA Communications and Information Officer Paul Fearn on behalf of Derbyshire Constabulary.
For more information from the GLA contact 0115 959 7069 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
1. The GLA operates throughout the UK and is a Non-Departmental Public Body.
2. The authority was formed in 2005 in the wake of the Morecambe Bay cockle picking disaster when 23 Chinese workers drowned on the sands.
3. The GLA licences companies that supply labour (gangmasters) for agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering as well as all associated processing and packaging.
4. Its main strategic priorities are to prevent worker exploitation, protect vulnerable people and tackle unlicensed and criminal activity.
5. Under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act (2004), it is illegal both to operate as, or employ the services of, an unlicensed gangmaster.