A family of Slovakian gypsies lived the high life in Newcastle while their victims suffered on stale food in the cellars. The gang, Rafaels, kept homeless people as slaves and stole their money to fund their casino trips, holidays, and cars.
People who suffered from their hands were told: “if you weren’t with us you’d be eating dogs.”
Their victims who were picked up in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, were flown into the UK with the promise of work. But they were bought and sold for £200 each.
Led by brothers Marian and Roman Rafael, the gang kept their victims’ identity documents, controlled their bank accounts, and only allowed them a small fraction of their earnings.
One victim shared, “We were fed only bits of potato and goulash that was its expiry date. The portions they gave us were very small.”
“While this was happening the Rafaels were drinking expensive alcohol and having parties but they gave us nothing. We had to do everything in the house; cleaning, sweeping and working in Newcastle, but I never saw a contract. They told me that if I tried to escape my throat would be cut or I would be thrown in the sea because this was an island we were living on.”
The family has been jailed after police investigators discovered photos of a large suitcase stuffed with cash to the brim.
Judge Peter Armstrong said that “This was a family business and it has been proven that business was modern slavery.
The case arises from a police operation concerning the criminal exploitation of vulnerable people induced to come to this country with the promise of a better life with good work and income.
Instead in your hands they were deceived, dominated and degraded. The victims were easily exploited, just as you intended they would be, because you knew how to use the government and recruitment agencies to exploit them.
The truth is you were making a living from the hard work and efforts of people you had living in basic accommodation at your homes.”
He also added, “You regarded your victim as income generating assets who could be controlled, bought and sold.
You funded a criminal lifestyle by the exploitation of vulnerable people, by robbing them of their dignity and their autonomy, by deliberately degrading them as human beings.”
Prosecutor John Elvidge, QC, said: “The full extent of their earnings from this systematic and sophisticated criminal enterprise cannot be calculated precisely. But what is clear is that the purpose of it was to generate a reliable stream of income running into hundreds of thousands of pounds over a period of years.
They withdrew cash which was converted into gold and transported out of the UK to associates in Zlate Moravce. A single slave could generate £13,000 per annum and four slaves could generate £50,000 a year or £250,000 over five years.
Further funds were created using overdraft and loan facilities on bank accounts which were nominally in the names of those unfortunate people they were exploiting.
Also they dishonestly claimed state benefits with one man alone bringing them £15,200.”
Jailed For A Total of 40 Years
“The victims in this case were not chained or bound, but that was not necessary because their circumstances made them compliant and to all intents and purposes captive. They were strangers in a foreign land with a foreign tongue and without access to money they were reliant on the people who were holding them,” Mr. Elvidge said.
Brothers Marian Rafael, 39, and Roman Rafael, 33, were each sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Marian’s wife, 38, and Angelica Chech, 30, were both sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
The leaders’ mother, Ruzena Rafael, 58, and cousin Juraj Rafael, 38, were sentenced to four years. A 17-year-old boy was also sentenced to two years in prison.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that these people should be locked up in jail for the rest of their lives? Let us know in the comments section below!
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