Mother and son kept ‘vulnerable’ men as slaves for 8 years

Two modern slavery victims who were brought from Slovakia to Peterborough with the promise of a better life have been awarded £130,000 in compensation.

Margita Slavikova, 68 of Cermen, in Nitra, Slovakia, and her son Robert Slavik, 40, of Priory Road, Peterborough, were jailed in September after they admitted fraud charges against the two men.

The mother and son exploited the men, made them work for little pay and took loans and phone contracts out in their names.

Over the course of almost eight years, the two victims lived at various addresses in Peterborough, with one even being forced into a sham marriage.

The first victim, a 30-year-old man, was only paid around £12,900 for the nearly eight years of work.

But the total he actually earned, including benefits, was £118,700.

Margita Slavikova
(Image: Cambridgeshire Constabulary)

The second victim, a 46-year-old, was paid £13,600 over the same period, but actually earned around £80,100.

The victims were moved to various addresses in Peterborough between 2008 and 2016, along with members of the Slavik family.

But this came to an end in April 2016 when police executed a warrant in Lincoln Road, Peterborough.

The men were rescued and entered into the National Referral Mechanism.

Slavikova’s grandson Roman Slavik and daughter Maria Slavikova were jailed in March 2019 for their crimes against the same two victims.

On Tuesday (August 18), Slavik and Slavikova appeared at Cambridge Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing.

Judge Jonathan Cooper told Slavikova she would face another two years in prison if she didn’t pay back a total of £130,350 within three months.

Of that sum, one slavery victim was awarded £52,139 in compensation and the other £78,210.

Slavik had benefited by £136,604 but the amount available for confiscation was just £1. The judge made an order in that sum with Slavik having to serve an extra seven days in prison in lieu of payment.

Robert Slavik, 40
(Image: Cambridgeshire Constabulary)

DC Pete Wise said: “Both vulnerable victims were exploited by the Slavik family – people they thought they could trust.

“This POCA hearing has ensured that Robert Slavik and Margita Slavikova will be stripped of the profit they made from their crimes – or in Slavik’s case face extra time behind bars as an alternative.

“It also demonstrates that not only will we do everything we can to bring offenders to justice, but also all we can to ensure victims get any money back that is rightfully theirs.

“Working alongside our specialist financial investigators in the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), we will continue to utilise every opportunity to use the Proceeds of Crime Act to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains, amassed from the misery and exploitation of others.

“Increasing public knowledge of the signs of modern slavery is key to protecting the vulnerable. It’s vital that people are aware of how to spot the signs and report any concerns to us, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Doing so could save a life.”

Cambridgeshire police has warned people to be vigilant for warning signs of modern slavery.

These may include:

• Not being able to come and go as they wish

• Being under 18 and providing commercial sex acts

• Working in the commercial sex industry and having a pimp/manager

• Being unpaid or paid very little

• Working excessively long or unusual hours

• Not being allowed breaks or suffers restrictions at work

• Owing a large debt and being unable to pay it off

• Being recruited through false promises

• Having high-security measures at their place of work and/or living locations e.g. opaque windows

Suspicious activity relating to exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking can be reported to police via www.cambs.police.uk/report or by calling 101.

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