Metropolitan Police detectives began an investigation supported by CITB’s Fraud Team in September 2017, after two Romanian men reported to Forest Gate police that they had been treated like slaves after coming to work in the UK.
On 23 March 2018 at Inner London Crown Court, David Lupu was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment after being convicted of multiple offences of holding a person in slavery or servitude.
During the trial, seven Romanian men said they had been offered jobs in July 2017, but after travelling to the UK, were expected to live in a small one bedroom flat in Leyton, east London. Up to 15 men slept wherever they could in the kitchen, bedroom, hallway and storage cupboard, on mattresses found in the street. Victims said they were only allowed out of the house two at a time, and warned that they would be arrested if discovered.
They were told that they owed Lupu hundreds of pounds and were forced to work long hours in the demolition sector in order to repay the costs. Meanwhile, Lupu was paid a significant wage by the building site’s employers for the men’s labour. When the men discovered their wages from the building site had not been passed on by Lupu, they confronted him, only to be beaten and threatened to be killed if they insisted on being paid before they had paid their ‘debts’.