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Man sentenced following Warwickshire Police modern slavery case

A man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison after being found guilty of human trafficking and sex offences.

Robert Petre, 33, of no fixed abode but residing in Coventry, was found guilty at Warwick Crown Court last month.

He was found guilty of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, controlling prostitution for gain, two counts of rape and assault.

On Tuesday (22 January) Petre was sentenced to 17 years in prison with a further three years on license. The judge also recommended Petre be deported at the end of his sentence.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Kate Williams, said: "I hope this sentencing reassures other victims of human trafficking and modern slavery offences that police will take action.

"This was a challenging case and I would like to pay tribute to the victim who has shown immense courage throughout the investigation and trial.

"Her evidence was extremely powerful and highlighted the experience of modern slavery victims."

Petre met the victim, a woman in her 20s, in Romania in February 2017.

Two weeks later he forced her to move to England to work as a prostitute. He threatened to kill her children if she didn't.

While here, he regularly beat and raped her forcing her to work as a prostitute in Coventry. He would keep any of the money she made.

In April 2017, she managed to escape from the house where she was being held and went to the police.

Having fled the UK, Petre was arrested in July 2018 after being extradited from Romania under a European Arrest Warrant.


Do you know the signs of modern slavery?

Physical Appearance

  • Shows signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished or unkempt, anxious/ agitated or appear withdrawn and neglected. They may have untreated injuries



  • Rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control, influence of others, rarely interact or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work
  • Relationships which don't seem right - for example a young teenager appearing to be the boyfriend/ girlfriend of a much older adult.


Poor living conditions

  • Be living in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and / or living and working at the same address


Restricted freedom of movement

  • Have no identification documents, have few personal possessions and always wear the same clothes day in day out. What clothes they do wear may not be suitable for their work
  • Have little opportunity to move freely and may have had their travel documents retained, e.g. passports


Unusual travel times

  • Be dropped off / collected for work on a regular basis either very early or late at night
  • Unusual travel arrangements- children being dropped off/ picked up in private cars/ taxis at unusual times and in places where it isn't clear why they'd be there


Reluctant to seek help

  • Avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fear law enforcers for many reasons, such as not knowing who to trust or where to get help, fear of deportation, fear of violence to them or their family.


Posted by Sam Cook, Communications Officer

Published 24/01/19