A father and son who boasted about living the “high life” while keeping modern day slaves in “horrendous” living conditions – paid just 50p per hour.
Human traffickers Petr Makula, 48, and Mario, 26, ran an employment agency supplying Eastern European workers to a factory.
One was paid less than 50p per hour and another said he worked at a hand car wash for 36 hours straight and for a month without any days off.
Up to 19 workers were crammed into a building with little hot water or central heating in Dover, Kent.
They had no bathrooms taps and shared a £100 weekly food budget stretching to one basic meal a day.
The human traffickers claimed they couldn’t pay their staff wages while posting photos of their lavish lifestyle on social media.
They were routinely assaulted and humiliated in front of the others for speaking up about their poor treatment by Petr Makula.
His staff typically slept on the floor while he holidayed in Dubai and Mario posted pictures of himself wearing with heavy gold chains in front of expensive cars.
The son recruited homeless and destitute people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with the promise of a better life in the UK.
His father controlled the pay of all of his workers and forced them to work long hours at the factory and a hand car wash he and his son were linked to.
He gave them different amounts every week which were always far less than what his staff were entitled to and deducted with the cost of their accommodation.
An ex-employee finally came forward to police in January 2018 and a probe into the family’s employment agency, Kladrom.
Detectives found it was sub-contracted to recruit people to work in a factory run by a company in Romney Marsh, Kent.
But the pair, from Dover, Kent, had spent thousands of pounds of their workers’ wages on their lavish lifestyle since 2007, including luxury cars, bling jewellery and tattoos.
Both Makulas were arrested on May 16 2018 and denied their crimes during a trial nearly three months long at Canterbury Crown Court.
But jurors convicted the pair after their claims of poverty were exposed as lies after eight exploited workers gave evidence against them.
The men told of how they were forced to work long hours at the factory and at a hand car wash that the Makulas were also linked to.
One ex-employee saying he once worked 36 hours straight and for a month without any days off.
Makula sr was jailed for eight-and-a-half years and his son for four-and-a-half years on July 31.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector James Derham, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Human trafficking and modern slavery are two of the fastest-growing international crimes and a large source of income for the people responsible, who care little for the misery they inflict on victims who are lured to the UK on the promise of a better life.
“Petr and Mario Makula made no secret of the fact that they were living the high life, posting images of themselves on social media while flaunting the proceeds of their crimes.
“What was less obvious was the harm they were causing to their workers who were forced to endure horrendous living conditions with virtually no money to spend on themselves.
“They spared little if any thought for anyone else’s welfare while they benefited from the misery of others, and are now quite rightly in prison.
“Tackling human trafficking and modern slavery is a priority for Kent Police and we will be relentless in our pursuit of those whom we believe are responsible for the exploitation of others.
“Such offences have no place in a civilised society and we are keen to do everything we can to prevent them from happening and protect those who are most at risk.”
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