After the human trafficking raids in Huntingdon and St Ives last week, The Hunts Post speaks to Fredek, who was rescued from exploitation two years ago.
Fredek came to Britain in 2012 on a promise of earning £2,000 a month in a factory job but in reality, he’d be lucky to receive just £20 a month.
He is now free from a life of exploitation, having been cared for by the Salvation Army, which has been involved in helping victims since 2011.
“Things were bad in my life in Hungary,” Fredek recalls. “I had made a few mistakes and was looking for a way to make a new start.
“There was no hope for me in my own country so when my ‘friend’ told me I could earn £2,000 a month working in a factory in the UK, I agreed because I thought I had nothing to lose. I was wrong.
“I travelled by car to the UK with three other men.
“As soon as we arrived at our house one of the men took my passport and from this point on we were kept as prisoners.
“On many occasions we were threatened physically and were close to being physically assaulted.
“At times I felt suicidal. I was afraid to escape as I had no identification and thought the police would deport me.
“For five months I was forced to work for £3-5 a week in many different places such as a pizza parlour, a chicken factory, selling mobile phones and distributing flyers. I was also forced to steal petrol and made to open false bank accounts in my name.
“After five months the men started to watch us less and we overheard them speaking about transferring us to another area to be forced to work for other people.
“So I started planning how to escape. We jumped out of a window and ran to the police who said that if we wanted, we could be taken to a safe place for our protection. We agreed.”
The Salvation Army, through City Hearts, provided this safe environment and support.
“From the moment I arrived I felt they wanted me to succeed, they believed in me.
“Initially I was angry at the men who had done this to me and I wanted to see them punished. The Salvation Army helped me connect with the police as a witness and receive advice on how to proceed. They never left my side through the whole process.”