Three sentenced for exploitation and sham marriage offences in London

13/08/2015

Three people were sentenced today to a total of 21 years for their part in exploiting young Lithuanian women in an attempt to arrange sham marriages. Vita Ramonaite received a total of 10 years, Robertas Ciuzas received a total of 6 years and Hussain Ali Rezaie received a total of 5 years at Southwark Crown Court today. The offences took place between February 2014 and January 2015.

The offences took place between February 2014 and January 2015.

Two of the three victims in this case were lured to the UK from Lithuania to be unwitting partners in sham marriages with Asian men seeking to defeat immigration controls, thinking they were being offered genuine help in another country. The marriages did not go ahead. Rezaie was the intended husband of one of the women. A third woman was already in the country but came to the attention of Ramonaite and Ciuzas, who forced her to work as a prostitute.

Damaris Lakin, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "These young women were considered to be a commodity with a unitary value ascribed to them depending on what function they were to perform. Two of the women were lured to the UK under the offer of genuine help, an escape from hardship or simply a way to further their ambitions in another country.  Sadly, what they were sold was no more than a fiction which ultimately led to their exploitation by others. Neither wanted to marry, chose to do so or envisaged that their lives in the UK would end up being traded between people seeking to exploit them. In the case of the third victim, she was coerced into prostitution through intimidation and violence. These were serious offences, described as outrageous by the Judge in court, and I applaud the victims' courage in approaching the police.

"This successful prosecution is a further example of European authorities working jointly to tackle the trafficking of women into this country for the purposes of exploitation. The thorough police investigation and support from Lithuanian authorities, and EuroJust, which ensured all agencies were effectively linked together, enabled us to put a strong case before the courts and these individuals have now been brought to justice for their crimes."

Charges and sentences

Related to victim 1:

  • CONSPIRACY TO ARRANGE OR FACILITATE THE ENTRY OF ANOTHER INTO THE UK WITH A VIEW TO THEIR EXPLOITATION, contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977. VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 4 years.
  • DOING AN ACT TO FACILITATE THE COMMISSION OF A BREACH OF UK IMMIGRATION LAWY BY A NON EU PERSON, contrary to section 25(1) and (6) of the Immigration Act 1971. VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 5 years concurrent and ROBERTAS CIUZAS was sentenced to 3 years (to run consecutive to an existing prison term on a charge of GBH for which he pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court in November 2014).

Related to victim 2:

  • CAUSING OR INCITING PROSTITUTION FOR GAIN, contrary to section 52 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 4 years consecutive and ROBERTAS CIUZAS was sentenced to 3 years consecutive.

Related to victim 3:

  • CONSPIRACY TO ARRANGE OR FACILITATE THE ENTRY OF ANOTHER INTO THE UK WITH A VIEW TO THEIR EXPLOITATION, contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977. HUSSAIN ALI REZAIE was sentenced to 4 years and VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 12 months consecutive.
  • CONSPIRACY TO OBTAIN LEAVE TO ENTER OR REMAIN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM BY DECEPTION, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. HUSSAIN ALI REZAIE was sentenced to 5 years concurrent and VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 12 months concurrent.
  •  DOING AN ACT TO FACILITATE THE COMMISSION OF A BREACH OF UK IMMIGRATION LAW BY A NON EU PERSON, contrary to section 25(1) and (6) of the Immigration Act 1971. VITA RAMONAITE was sentenced to 12 months concurrent.