CPS successfully prosecutes second major modern slavery case this month

|News, International and organised crime

A father and son have today (29 July) been convicted for their roles in long-running conspiracy to exploit Eastern European workers they trafficked into the UK.
 
Victims from the Czech Republic and Slovakia were promised jobs with good pay – but on arrival were housed in poor quality accommodation in Kent and given very little money.

The vulnerable men, often homeless in their own countries, were forced to work up to 36 hours at a time doing hard manual labour, with some going without a day off for years.

Petr Makula
Petr Makula in Dubai hotel

While their victims were forced to sleep in bunk beds, the family members who exploited them enjoyed lavish holidays in Dubai – racking up bills running into the thousands.

Documents from the employment company set up by the traffickers showed they had systematically underpaid their victims, with one man losing more than £27,000 over a four-year period.

One victim’s bank account was even used to pay for a ferry booking, despite the victim not being present.

Petr Makula, 48 and his son Mario, 26, were found guilty of a string of trafficking offences after a trial lasting almost three months at Canterbury Crown Court. The jury heard evidence from the victims, who not only described their working and living conditions, but the promises originally made to lure them to the UK.

Lorna Lee, from the CPS, said: “This was a well-planned and co-ordinated conspiracy, where the victims, who were in a vulnerable position in their own countries, were promised a better life in the UK.

“The reality was starkly different. They were exploited for years, paid well below the minimum wage and forced to live in basic and cramped conditions, sometimes without electricity or running water.

“The men were effectively prisoners of the circumstances they found themselves in, knowing little English and not having any money or anywhere else to go.

Mario Makula
Lavish lifestyle: Mario Makula

“Some victims were threatened or beaten, leaving them too scared to complain.

“Meanwhile, the defendants were using the fruits of slave labour to buy foreign holidays, cars, and jewellery.”

The conviction follows the CPS’s successful role in prosecuting the UK’s largest ever modern slavery case earlier this month. Eight defendants across two trials were found guilty for their involvement in a conspiracy involving up to 300 victims.

The charges against Petr Makula spanned from 2005 to 2018, meaning prosecutors had to use three different laws to reflect changes in legislation during that period.

Notes to editors

• Petr Makula (25/09/1970) was convicted of:
o conspiracy to traffic people into the UK for exploitation,
o conspiracy to traffic people for exploitation within the UK,
o conspiracy to intentionally arrange or facilitate the travel of people into the UK with the intention of exploitation
o conspiracy to intentionally arrange or facilitate the travel of people within the UK with the intention of exploitation
o conspiracy to commit human trafficking
o conspiracy to control another for the purposes of labour exploitation
• Mario Makula (05/02/1993) was convicted of:
o conspiracy to intentionally arrange or facilitate the travel of people into the UK with the intention of exploitation
o conspiracy to intentionally arrange or facilitate the travel of people within the UK with the intention of exploitation
o conspiracy to commit human trafficking
• Two other defendants, Petr’s daughter Angela Makula (17/02/1992) and his nephew, Emil Rac (05/01/1979) were both acquitted of all the charges against them.
• Lorna Lee is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South East.
 

Further reading