Transatlantic teamwork frees man forced to work 90-hour weeks for no pay

A vulnerable man who was being controlled and exploited is now free thanks to international partnership work between Hope for Justice’s teams in the UK and US.

Eryk*, who is in his 40s and originally from Poland, was trafficked from the UK to Georgia and forced into domestic servitude. He had been promised $11 (£9) per hour for a few months’ work but on arrival, his passport and ID were taken from him. He was made to work 13 hours a day, seven days a week for no pay.

A friend in the UK referred him to Hope for Justice last month after learning of his situation.

One of Hope for Justice’s investigators said: “Thankfully we had a telephone number for Eryk and were able to make contact. He bravely shared details of his situation which meant we were able to help.

“When his return flights were cancelled due to COVID-19, his trafficker began making threats towards him. He was told he was in debt to them for the cost of flights, accommodation and food. They threatened to make him homeless if he stopped working.”

Our UK team worked alongside US investigative colleagues, and teamed up with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security, Georgia, to locate the man and rescue him.

One of Hope for Justice’s US Investigators said: “An investigation has been launched. His traffickers face two felony counts. Arrangements were made for the victim to be transported back to the UK immediately.

“This case is a fantastic example of how Hope for Justice’s UK and the US Investigative Hubs are working together and utilising a global network. It also demonstrates our inter-agency work and successful use of law enforcement contacts within the US to resolve an ongoing case. We hope to see much more of this going forward.”

Hope for Justice’s UK team is providing ongoing support for Eryk.

*Name changed to protect identity of victim