A 52-year-old mushroom grower from Ruisel, North Brabant, has been sentenced to one year in prison for exploiting a man with a learning disability for ten years.

The man worked from 4:30 a.m. until late, six days a week, but was never paid more than 20 hours and received no travel expenses. He was not allowed to take time off and was forced to work when he was sick.

The issue came to a head in 2019 when a man tried to leave and the owner’s father blocked his car with an excavator and threw a spade at the man.

The judge said it was clear that the mushroom grower and his father knew the man was vulnerable and that “his personal liberty had been severely restricted for a long period of time”, causing fear and stress. The father was released after being imprisoned for six months due to poor health.

The judge denied the charges, saying the victim wanted to work, considering the suspect had shown no remorse. They were also told to pay compensation to the victims. His company fined him €100,000.

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