Family gang jailed and man arrested for modern slavery offences

A family-based gang of people traffickers has been jailed and in a separate incident a man has been arrested for modern slavery offences.

The BBC reports Leeds Crown Court heard six members of the Cisar family ran a family business trafficking workers from Slovakia to Leeds before exploiting them and forcing victims to work for as little as £5 a day.

Police raids on 25 homes in Armley in 2013 led to 37 people being rescued, including a one-year-old child. The gang’s leader Frantisek Cisar was jailed for nine years, while two landlords were jailed for up to 42 months.

The court heard some of the victims had resorted to begging for food to feed their children, despite working up to 10 hours a day, six days a week. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) disclosed after sentencing that one victim was paid just £3k for three to four years’ work.

The gang approached their victims in Slovakia, including a father who had a family of 11 living in a single room, offering them a better life working in the UK. Upon arriving in the UK, victims were given building work with a daily allowance of between £5 and £7, with occasional top-up payments.

The court heard the Cisar family controlled their bank accounts, took their benefit payments and kept them in poor living conditions, while some of the victims the gang had exploited were either homeless, living in crisis centres, unemployed or alcoholics.

Two landlords in Leeds, Aurangzeb Naseem and his father Mohammed Naseem, were given jail terms for using the Cisar family’s victims to carry out renovation work on their properties.

  • Gang leader Frantisek Cisar of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was jailed for nine years for conspiracy to traffic and six counts of arranging or facilitating the travel within the UK of another for exploitation.
  • His brother Marcel Cisar of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was jailed for 15 months for arranging or facilitating the arrival into the UK of another for exploitation.
  • Their sister Bohuslava Cisarova, of Blackhill Crescent, Springwell, Newcastle was jailed for three years for conspiracy to traffic and exploitation.
  • Her husband Arpad Jano of Thornbury Avenue, Bradford was jailed for four-and-a-half years for conspiracy to traffic and exploitation.
  • Mother Bohuslava Cisarova of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was jailed for two years for conspiracy to traffic and exploitation.
  • Father Jan Cisar of Rayleigh Street, Bradford was given a two-year suspended sentence – due to his ill health – for conspiracy to traffic and exploitation.
  • Aurangzeb Naseem of Otley Road, Leeds was jailed for three-and-a-half years for three counts of exploitation.
  • Mohammed Naseem of Otley Road, Leeds was jailed for 18 months for three counts of exploitation.

In a separate release from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), the authority revealed a Romanian man has been arrested by GLAA officers following an operation at two hand car washes in the Barnsley area.

The GLAA, supported by partner agencies, carried out simultaneous raids at the car washes on Thursday morning (4 October). The suspect, who was questioned over alleged modern slavery offences, has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Two Romanian men have entered the government’s National Referral Mechanism, a process which ensures victims of modern slavery and labour exploitation are given the help and support that they require.

The potential victims disclosed that their ID cards and mobile phones had been withheld at different points, and that they had suffered burns to their hands and arms through not having the appropriate protective equipment when cleaning vehicles.

Several workers at both hand car washes were interviewed on site about their working and living conditions.

GLAA officers also seized mobile phones, CCTV footage from the car washes and other evidence which the GLAA says may prove critical to the investigation.

The operation was supported by officers from South Yorkshire Police, HM Revenue & Customs and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

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