Leeds human trafficking gang found guilty of exploitation offences

Eight people have been convicted today following a trial at Leeds Crown Court
Eight people have been convicted today following a trial at Leeds Crown Court
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A GANG of people traffickers who brought vulnerable people from Slovakia to Leeds and made them work for as little as £5 a day have been convicted of exploitation offences

The gang often targeted single vulnerable men, luring them with the promise of a better life or threatening them with violence.

But they would also traffic families with young children, the youngest of whom was only one-years-old.

The victims were forced to stay in often sub-standard accommodation which the gang controlled, with their benefits going directly to the traffickers.

The group would also set up bank accounts in the victim’s names but would then take all or some control of their accounts before getting them to sign onto any other benefits available to them.

They were put to work at a construction company, which benefited from the cheap labour and also had improvements down to their own homes.

Eight people who were convicted following a trial at Leeds Crown Court will be sentenced on September 17.

It follows an investigation by West Yorkshire's Human Trafficking Unit following raids at addresses across the south and west of Leeds in 2013, which revealed 37 victims aged one to 57.

Superintendent Warren Stevenson of West Yorkshire Police, said: “These people were in involved in modern day slavery – a crime that trades in human misery. They traded in victims.

“The victims were vulnerable people and were reliant on the group. The victims who could work were put into employment and again, their wages were taken from them and they were left with a subsistence amount on which to live.

“Some of the victims had been in the UK for up to five years and members of the group used the fear of violence to control victims as well as ensuring the victims had a dependency on them by taking their documents and controlling their finances and lifestyle.”

The victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism and have since been given the "appropriate" support, Supt Stevenson added.

Supt Stevenson said: “This was a real partnership approach – and when we rescued the victims various agencies came together to ensure those in greatest need received the help and support they needed at the victim recovery centres. We worked with partners including Leeds City Council, the DWP and HMRC, NHS, Salvation Army, Hope for Justice and CPS.

“Modern Day Slavery is a crime that is often ‘hidden in plain sight’ and we believe it to be very under-reported."

The eight convicted today are:

*Frantisek Cisar, 37, of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel to the United Kingdom for Exploitation and six counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Bohuslava Cisarova, 33, of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel to the United Kingdom and two counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Arpad Jano, 41, of Rayleigh Street, Bradford, was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel to the United Kingdom for Exploitation and three counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Bohuslava Cisarova, 60, of St Leonards Road, Bradford, was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel to the United Kingdom for Exploitation and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Jan Cisar, 62, of St Leonards Road, Bradford, was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel to the United Kingdom for Exploitation and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Marcel Cisar, 34, of Rayleigh Street, Bradford, was found guilty of one count of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation and two counts of arranging of facilitating the travel to the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.

*Aurangzeb Naseem,43, of Otley Road, Leeds was found guilty of three counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation

*Mohammed Naseem, 60, of Otley Road, Leeds, was found guilty of three counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the United Kingdom of another for exploitation.