Romany family who bought destitute slaves from Eastern Europe for £200 a head then kept them in cellars and swindled benefits in their names are found guilty of trafficking
The Rafael family were convicted of trafficking homeless people into Britain
They bought and sold their victims for just £200 and forced them into work
Jurors heard they picked them up off the streets of Eastern Europe and used them to swindle benefits
The Slovakian family confined their victims to a house in Newcastle’s West End
By Ed Riley For Mailonline
11 April 2018
Five members of a Romany family have been found guilty of trafficking homeless people from eastern Europe into Britain to work as slaves.
The group, based in Newcastle, bought and sold their victims for as little as £200, and forced them to live in cellars and sleep in cramped rooms.
The Rafael family picked them up off the streets of central Europe and then used them to claim benefits by arranging National Insurance numbers for them, but pocketed the cash themselves, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Headed by Roman Rafael, the gang, from Slovakia, were convicted of charges including forced labour, money laundering and conspiracy to traffic with a view to exploitation.
Victims were picked up from Slovakia and the Czech Republic and offered flights to the UK and work, but were then enslaved and sent to work in food packaging factories, the court heard.
Their lack of English and any documentation, as well as little access to money, effectively left them trapped.
They were confined to a house in Newcastle’s West End and told they could go no further than its back yard as there were “men with machetes” in the streets.
The jury were told they were sent to clean houses and pull springs from old mattresses for the scrap metal between 2010 and last year.
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