The couple who enslaved Slovak men and forced them to work in car washes are in prison.


Couples who smuggled more than 40 vulnerable men from Slovakia to Britain and forced them into slavery to increase their gambling addiction have been jailed.

Maros Tancos, 45, and Joanna Gomulska, 46, recruited their victims from care homes and orphanages, promising them permanent jobs and a better life in the UK.

But upon arrival, the men will be forced to work long hours in tanks car wash in South Maid, Bristol, as well as other menial jobs.

Tankos will verbally and physically abuse the men to intimidate them, while Gomolska will emerge as a “good policeman” who will convince victims that he is looking for them.

Car wash of Marus Tankos in Bristol where his victims were forced to work without any work (NCA / PA)

She will go with him to the appointment to set up his National Insurance number and bank accounts, but will immediately confiscate all the cards and PIN numbers.

In Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, Tankos was sentenced to 16 years in prison for plotting to assassinate the mastermind, while Gomolska was sentenced to nine years in prison for his role.

Judge Martin Picton told them both that they would have to serve two-thirds of their sentence before being released, instead of the usual half.

In addition to the car wash, both defendants will sign off on evening and night work with the victims, such as packing milk, catching chickens for slaughter, and sorting parcels.

Many people worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Between 2010 and 2017, the couple deposited £ 300,000 in bank accounts set up in their victims’ names.

Cash was spent on casinos, online casinos and second hand cars.

Vulnerable victims were often recruited directly from orphanages and refugee camps where they were living in poor conditions (NCA / PA).

The couple came to the attention of the National Crime Agency (NCA) when a victim who managed to return to Slovakia complained to the authorities there.

Following a surveillance operation, the NCA raided an address in Brentry, North Bristol, where they found five Slovak men with dirty beds and mattresses in dilapidated rooms.

The victims hid a small amount of change and a SIM card in their socks and shoes to prevent Tankos and Gomolska from being taken away.

The victims said that at times 10 people could stay at the address, crawling into three rooms and sharing a bathroom.

The confiscated iPhones of both the defendants revealed that they were behind applications for employment agencies, bank accounts and various loans in the names of their victims.

The room where some of the victims were housed in Marus Tankos’ home in Bristol (NCA / PA)

He had a library of photographs of bank cards, PIN numbers and victims’ identification documents, as well as details of flights he had booked to bring to the UK.

The NCA, in partnership with Slovak authorities, identified 42 potential victims, 29 of whom were willing to provide evidence.

Tancos and Gomulska were charged with 15 counts of aggravated robbery.

In March, both men were convicted of nine counts of human trafficking and forced labor, and one count of conspiracy to obtain criminal property.

The NCA believes the actual number of victims could be much higher, as there were many people they were unable to locate.

Many of Maros Tancos victims were held captive for years (NCA / PA)

Senting Tankos and Gomolska to prison during a sentencing hearing in Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Pectin said: “You have identified the potential victims in terms of their circumstances, their financial and social vulnerabilities. People who have very little alternative. “

He added: “The victims had the same cash value for you as cattle do for a farmer.”

Addressing Gomolska, he said: “You showed some insight and some empathy, but your experience did not stop you from supporting your partner whom you were well aware of as a criminal. Business

“You had choices and you made a mistake.”

The victims were locked in the house when they were not at work, but one said that even if they could open it, they were too scared to leave.

They were regularly forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and were made to share identities, so that they could go and work in manual jobs for which they had not applied.

Defendants also pocketed suggestions given to men by motorcyclists using a car wash and forced a man to go to work during the day after breaking his arm.

One victim described the house in which they were kept as “the gates of hell”.

“I went there because I wanted to provide for my family and give more than what they had in Slovakia but the life at Marus’s house changed my life completely,” he said. Said

“I wasn’t allowed out of the house and I only knew work. All the time I kept thinking I was a slave there. I thought there was no way back.”

Another, who was jailed for eight years, said the couple “ruined half my life”.

“The way I was humiliated, I was beaten and punished for every little thing. I will never forget it,” he said.

“No one can understand what I experienced there unless they were there.”

Tankos made no comment, while Gomolska claimed he had only given people lifts and a car wash.

He said the living conditions of the workers were good, and claimed that they had heating, a hot shower and a clean house where they could eat whatever they cooked.