LONDON - British police arrested three suspected slave masters after a raid on a factory freed 20 Eastern European migrants paid 25 pounds (S$51.26) to work 80-hour weeks on Monday.
Police said that the factory in Manchester in northwest England was producing pictures and frames for "major high street companies" and had contracts worth millions of pounds.
"The men and women working in the factory have told us that they were subjected to physical and verbal assaults at the hands of their employers and forced to work more than 80 hours before ending up with around 25 pounds for their week's work," said detective inspector James Faulkner.
"This is a typical example of how modern slavery can work in the UK."
The migrants were given accommodation in a house with "cramped, terrible conditions" where they slept three or four to a room, before being taken to the factory to work over 12 hours a day, police said.
The factory owners paid the immigrants around 125 pounds for 80 hours work, but deducted up to 100 pounds for the accommodation and travel to work, according to police.
"This leaves the men and women effectively working for pennies, while simultaneously ensuring they remain reliant on the people enslaving them," Faulkner added.
Three men aged 51, 43 and 40 were arrested on conspiracy to require another person to perform forced or compulsory labour, and conspiracy to commit trafficking offences.
The raid was part of an ongoing anti-trafficking effort by Greater Manchester Police called Operation Retriever.
An earlier raid in November arrested 15 people and charged five for their involvement in a trafficking ring that sold a pregnant woman into a fake marriage, and attempted to trick her into having an abortion.