Jurgis was nervous about travelling to the UK. He lived in a small village in Lithuania with his father and younger siblings. He would liked to have stayed there. But earning enough money to support his sick father was tough. So when a farmer approached him with opportunity of work abroad, promise of earning a ‘small fortune’, he felt he couldn’t refuse.
He was flown to the UK and met with a man who called himself Peter. Peter took Jurgis’s passport telling him he needed to officially register him. He then took him to a farm where he would work. Jurgis was forced to share a caravan with eight other men. The men seemed downtrodden, scared and unwilling to talk to him. The conditions were wretched. 10 hours a day he worked only to reach then end of the week and be handed £20. The rest was deducted for ‘airfare’.
Soon Jurgis realised he was in trouble. The other men had been there months and the conditions or pay had not changed. He was scared what would happen to his family if he escaped. Plus he was weak and exhausted. Thankfully, Jargis was resourceful. After some weeks he built up the courage to pass a note to a shopkeeper when collecting supplies. The police were alerted and Jurgis and the other men brought to safety.
Case Study courtesy of the Northern Ireland Law Centre: www.lawcentreni.org