A Slovakian trafficking gang who brought victims from Eastern Europe to exploit them told slaves their would be 'eating dogs' if they weren't in the UK.
The Newcastle-based Rafael family, of Roma origin, spent their ill-gotten gains on gold and jewellery, casino trips, Mediterranean holidays and £10,000 cash on an Audi Q7 after luring vulnerable people from central Europe and forcing them to work in the UK.
Ahead of their sentencing this week, victim's harrowing statements of their ordeals have been read to Teesside Crown Court.
Gang ring-leader Roman Rafael, 33 trafficked vulnerable people from Slovakia to Newcastle
One slave, who cannot be identified, said he was held captive in the UK for three years as his family back home accused him of ignoring them
He told the court: 'I thought I was going to get work in the UK, I thought I could trust them.'
He said of his family: 'I came to the UK to improve their lives as well as my own. My ex-wife and my children thought I had no time for them.
'I am not sure I can repair the damage caused. My ex-wife and children think I earned a lot of money, and that I didn't support them financially.
'I missed spending time with them, hugs, Christmases and birthdays. They thought I didn't care about them. My children thought I am a bad father.'
He said one of the gang, Ruzena Rafaelova Junior, told another female victim she would be 'eating dogs' if it was not for the Rafaels.
Ruzena Rafaelova Junior (left) told a slave they would be 'eating dog' if they hadn't been taken in by the gang. Angelica Chec (right) is the Polish mother of leader Roman's four children
Victims were flown into the UK with the promise of work, bought and sold for as little as £200 each, put into low quality housing in Newcastle's West End and sent out to work long hours via agencies, recycling tyres, washing cars, reclaiming bricks or at