News

Modern day slavery trial results

04 May 2018 18:00 PM

MDS case April [View Full Size]

The leaders of a human trafficking gang have today (Friday) been sentenced to a combined total of 20 years in prison.

Roman Rafael and Marian Rafael were the heads of an organised crime group that trafficked vulnerable people from Slovakia and the Czech Republic to work for next to nothing in the UK.

They had both previously each pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to traffic people, two counts of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour.  

Roman Rafael 33, of Farndale Road, Newcastle, received a 10 year prison sentence and made subject of a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 15 years.

Marian Rafael, 39 of Brighton Grove, Newcastle, received a 10 year prison sentence and made subject of a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 15 years.

Following a trial at Teeside Crown Court a further four members of the family and 17-year-old accomplice were found guilty of associated offences.

Angelica Chec, 30, of Farndale Road, Newcastle, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to traffic people, two counts of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour.   She was sentenced to five years in prison and given a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 10 years.

Juraj Rafael, 38, of Bilbrough Gardens, Newcastle, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to traffic people, one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour. He was sentenced to four years in prison and given a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 10 years.

Ruzena Rafaelova, 37, of Brighton Grove, Newcastle, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to traffic people, two counts of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour.  She was sentenced to five years in prison and given a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 10 years.

Ruzena Rafaelova, 58, of Strathmore Crescent, Newcastle, was found not guilty of two counts of conspiracy to traffic people into the UK, she was found guilty of all other charges; two counts of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour.  She was sentenced to four years in prison and given a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention order for 10 years.

The 17-year-old male, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to traffic people, one count of conspiracy to launder money and one count of conspiracy to carry out forced/compulsory labour.  He was sentenced to two years in prison.

The victims were kept in terrible conditions and forced to work long hours. They had their wages confiscated; only receiving a tiny fraction a week. The recruitment agencies and factories where the victims worked were also unwitting victims in this case and had no knowledge of the criminality that was being undertaken. They paid the victims correctly and legally.

Members of the Rafael family would confiscate their victims’ identification documents and use these to apply for benefits, tax credits and loans, generating thousands of pounds worth of cash from each person.

It is believed that the offenders made hundreds of thousands of pounds from their victims, and used this money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

They enjoyed foreign holidays, held parties, and wore expensive clothes and jewellery.

Northumbria Police’s Detective Inspector Sally Macdonald, who led the investigation, said: “These offenders have carried out terrible crimes over many years and deserve to spend many years behind bars.

“The victims themselves played a huge part in securing the convictions, and their bravery in coming to court over the past 14 weeks to tell the story of how they’ve been exploited should be commended.

“The work of our officers and partners should also be recognised as this has secured sentences that will not only safeguard victims but also send a message to those engaged in similar criminal activity.

“We continue to proactively target offenders profiting from these sickening crimes, while supporting vulnerable victims through the activity we do in the name of Sanctuary.

“Often people don’t realise they are victims of slavery and so it is important that the police and people in the community are vigilant so together we can tackle this crime.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “Today’s verdict shows that Northumbria Police will do everything within their power to tackle Modern Day Slavery. Nobody deserves to feel intimidated, isolated and live in fear. We have a responsibility to victims to work together with partners to identify and tackle this type of crime and do everything within our power to safeguard them and other vulnerable people.”

 

Anyone who thinks they are a victim or any members of the public who have concerns about human trafficking or modern day slavery happening near them should ring police on 101 or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.