Peters & Peters

Prison for couple found guilty of modern slavery


Key facts:

After a three-month trial, a couple, Maros Tancos and Joanna Gomulska, was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court of trafficking at least 29 vulnerable people from Slovakia and Hungary and exploiting them for financial gain, contrary to sections 4(1)(1) of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 and section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Between 2010 and 2017, the couple trafficked predominantly men from Slovakia and Hungary, who were unable to speak English. Victims were falsely told they would keep half of their wages every month while the rest would go towards food and living costs.

During the trial, the court heard that the couple seized victims’ ID documents, phones and bank cards, and opened bank accounts with them in addition to applying for loans and credit cards in their names. The victims were forced to work unpaid in the defendants’ car wash business and then do paid jobs at night, while the couple spent the victims’ earnings on gambling, flights and to entrap more victims.

The NCA believes that almost £300,000 was transferred from the victims’ accounts.

The NCA was first alerted by the Slovakian authorities in 2017 that one of its citizens had “escaped from servitude” from an address in Bristol. This prompted an investigation and the defendants were arrested in July of that year.

In June 2022, Maros Tancos was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment and issued with a slavery and trafficking prevention order and Joanna Gomulska was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.


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