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Eight convicted in UK for keeping 400 victims in modern day slavery

LONDON: Details about what prosecutors have called one of Britain`s largest modern day slavery rings have emerged with the conviction of eight people.

Prosecutors say more than 400 victims were forced to work for minuscule wages while their masters earned some $2.5 million and lived a luxurious lifestyle.

The group preyed on the homeless, former convicts and alcoholics in Poland and lured them to Britain with false promises of well-paid work. Some ended up being paid less than $1 for a day`s work and were held in squalid conditions.

Five men and three women originally from Poland have been convicted of modern day slavery offences and money laundering. Jurors in two separate trials atBirmingham Crown Court heard testimony from more than 90 victims, with indications that at least another 350 had been traf ficked by the criminal gang.

Victims reported being forced to wash in acanalbecause they had no accessto fresh water, having to plug leaky toilets with their blankets and sheets, and getting food from soup kitchens and food banks because their wages were not sufficient.

The group targeted vulnerable people in Poland for recruitment and placed them in England in cramped, rat-infested lodgings. They were put to work on f arms, rubbish recycling centres and poultry f actories. The victims ranged f rom teenagers to people over 60.-AP