Twelve Romanian workers allegedly lured to Northern Ireland were denied wages and left living hungry and exhausted in cramped and sub-standard conditions, the High Court heard.
A judge was told the nine men and three women said what they endured was worse than the poverty they had left behind.
Prosecutors claimed all earnings by the group, discovered at a house in Portadown, Co Armagh, were taken by a fellow national who „enticed” them to the UK.
Ioan Lacatus allegedly informed them the money for long shifts in a factory, car wash and other workplaces would go towards paying their debts to him.
It was claimed that he responded to requests for more food by telling them they should eat stones.
The 31-year-old, with an address at Hanover Street in Portadown, is charged with 12 counts each of human trafficking and forced labour. He is further accused of concealing criminal property and acting as an unlicensed gang master. All of the alleged offences occurred between May and August this year.
Bail was denied due to concerns he may flee or interfere with the investigation if released.