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Members of organised crime group jailed for people trafficking offences

|News

A Slovak organised crime group who trafficked vulnerable people to the UK for almost a decade to work in car washes and restaurants have been jailed.

Five people, including two married couples, were sentenced on 7 May 2021 at Birmingham Crown Court for modern slavery and human trafficking offences.

Between 2008 and 2017, the victims were lured from Slovakia to the UK with promises of jobs with good pay and free accommodation. Instead, they were forced to work and live under appalling circumstances.

The victims were taken to various restaurants and car washes and made to work about 12 hours a day, six days a week. At the end of each week, they would receive just £20 per week in cash, and if they complained, they would be verbally and physically threatened and abused.

A joint investigation between West Midlands Police and Slovakian authorities began in June 2017. Co-ordinated arrests took place in Germany, The Netherlands and Slovakia in September 2019. The CPS obtained European Arrest Warrants to ensure that all five defendants were then extradited to the UK.

Gejza Demeter, 53, and his wife Andrea Demeterova, 49, pleaded guilty of various trafficking offences at Birmingham Crown Court. Andrea’s brother Pavol Ferenc, 47, and his wife Klaudia Ferencova, 41, and the mother of Andrea and Pavol, Zedenka Ferencova, 68, also pleaded guilty to people trafficking and forced labour offences.

Warren Stanier, of the CPS, said: “The true number of victims in this case will never be known. What is clear is that a very large number of vulnerable members of the Slovakian community were exploited by this criminal family enterprise. The defendants, who were motivated purely by greed, callously and systematically placed victims in a desperate financial situation where they had nowhere to go.

"In this case the CPS has worked with prosecutors and law enforcement across Europe to bring these defendants to justice. This offending was abhorrent and it is impossible to comprehend the devastating effect on its victims. The CPS is committed to prosecuting these crimes and seizing criminal assets of those responsible.”

Notes to editors

  • Gejza Demeter, Total of 8 years’ imprisonment:
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (6 years and 6 months)
    • Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons with a view to exploitation (8 years)
    • Conspiracy to require another to perform forced or compulsory labour  (6 years 6 months), Conspiracy to control another for the purposes of labour exploitation (6 years 6 months)
    • Conspiracy to remove criminal property (28 months).
    • A slavery and trafficking prevention order was made for 10 years.
  • Andrea Demeterova, Total of 6½ years' imprisonment:
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (6½ years)
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (6½ years)
    • Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons with a view to exploitation (6½ years).
    • A slavery and trafficking prevention order was made for 8 years. 
  • Pavol Ferenc, Total of 6½ years' imprisonment:
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (6½ years)
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (6½ years)
    • Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons with a view to exploitation (6½ years).
    • A slavery and trafficking prevention order was made for 8 years.
  • Klaudia Ferencova, Total of 5 years' imprisonment:
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (5 years)
    • Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons with a view to exploitation (5 years).
    • A slavery and trafficking prevention order was made for 7 years. 
  • Zedenka Ferencova, Total 4 years' imprisonment:
    • Conspiracy to traffic persons into the United Kingdom for exploitation (4 years)
    • Conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of persons with a view to exploitation (4 years), Conspiracy to control another for the purposes of labour exploitation (5 years).
    • A slavery and trafficking prevention order was made for 6 years.

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