Two Serbians were found guilty in a Helsingør court on Tuesday for exploiting a Romanian couple, according to Ritzau.
The Romanians spent three years living on a balcony in Helsingør and worked long hours for just 3,000 kroner ($500) per month.
They were brought to Denmark by a 41-year-old Serbian man and his 44-year-old Serbian female partner, who were found guilty of gross usury for making the Romanians work off their transportation costs by doing various cleaning jobs for up to 18 hours a day. When they weren’t working, they lived on an apartment balcony.
The 41-year-old Serbian man was sentenced to two years in prison, a 275,000 kroner fine and expulsion from Denmark, while the women will serve 18 months, pay a 115,000 kroner fine and also be kicked out of the country.
The Serbians were also ordered to pay each of the Romanians 500,000 kroner.
Police estimate that the Romanians were cheated out of a total of 875,000 kroner that should have come to them in wages but instead went into the Serbian couple's company bank account. The company served as a subcontractor for Danish cleaning giant Forende Service, which has been involved in previous cases involving the exploitation of eastern European cleaning personnel.
In court, the Romanian man said that they didn’t mind living on a balcony.
“We slept on the balcony. We had a place where we could sleep and had a little table. We were satisfied and it wasn’t cold in the winter,” Ritzau quoted the man as saying in court.