A couple has been sentenced to 12 years in jail after being convicted of trafficking women from their country for prostitution purposes.

Robert Attila Majlat, 41, and Attilane Majlat, 36, both Hungarians, were each jailed for 12 years – the maximum allowable term that can be meted out by a magistrate’s court – for the human trafficking of two women.    

The victims, who cannot be mentioned by court order, testified that they never had their own money because they used to pass on whatever they earned to the accused who, in turn, provided for their daily needs. 

One victim told the court she got to know Mr Majlat when she was 19 years old. At the time, she was working as a prostitute with somebody else but Mr Majlat “bought her” from her old pimp.

She said she worked as a prostitute in various countries, including Hungary, UK, The Netherlands and Malta, and always passed on everything she earned to Mr Majlat.

Ms Majlat, she said, was the person who was responsible for the appointments with clients and who used to determine the fees payable for her services. She said there were three of them but one was not in Malta any longer. 

They first came to Malta in August 2016 but the landlord realised that the apartment was being used for prostitution purposed so he terminated the lease and they had to flee the island

They returned in September 2017. She had 15 clients a day. She also alleged that she was forced to have sex with Mr Majlat but the accused was cleared of the rape charge as this had not been proven in court. 

The victim said she wanted to stop working as a prostitute but was worried about her eight-month old and that she would not have enough money to feed her and buy whatever she needed. She said her baby stayed with the couple while she was with clients. 

Another victim gave more or less a similar account of how she was brought to Malta to work as a prostitute. She used to live in St Paul's Bay with the two accused and they used a different apartment to service clients. She charged €100 an hour for her services. 

She said the accused both shouted at her on several occasions and there were times when they also hit her. She also confirmed that someone had tried to persuade her not to testify against the woman as she would end up in jail. 

The couple was found guilty of trafficking the women to Malta and profiting from the earning of prostitution. They were also found guilty of exploiting vulnerable women, one of whom was proven to have psychological problems. 

Magistrate Joseph Mifsud ruled that the couple knew what they were doing and that they were the masterminds behind this prostitution ring and, therefore, jailed them for 12 years each.

He also ordered the police commissioner to investigate whether there really was an attempt to stop one of the victims from testifying and take appropriate action as deemed necessary.