UK: Family from Czech Republic charged with human trafficking
A five-member family originally from the Czech Republic has been charged with human trafficking by authorities in the southeastern English town of Plymouth. People trafficked from the Czech Republic were forced to sleep in a garage, on the ground, or in a cupboard beneath a staircase and to give most of their pay to those who had trafficked them.
The case was reported by the British daily The Herald. Josef Bukovinský, a victim who managed to flee his traffickers, said he worked in a factory for as much as 60 hours a week under those conditions.
He lived in the home of Růžena Tancošová, who controlled his bank account and gave him 10 pounds in cash once every three or four months. She and her sisters also forced him to shoplift.
"I would walk into a store, fill up the cart, and walk past the checkout counter without paying," he told The Herald. The family threatened him with beatings and Mr Tancoš (age 35) slapped him around more than once.
Ultmately Mr Bukovinský and another victim, Josef Štěpán, managed to flee and contacted immigration authorities. The five family members charged with trafficking in human beings have denied they are responsible.
Prosecutors have also charged another three people with involvement in the scheme. Such cases of modern slavery are not unique to the UK.
According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, the Czech Republic is ranked second-highest among European states for people living in a modern form of slavery. On 23 and 24 March a working conference was held in Prague on the topic of modern forms of slavery and the issue of human trafficking.
The conference was organized by the Czech Interior Ministry together with the Embassy of Great Britain in Prague. News server Romea.cz will report more about that conference in a separate article featuring an interview with Petr Torák, a Romani police officer in the UK, originally from the Czech Republic, who works on a special team covering human trafficking cases, and Klára Skřivánková, who works for the British organization Anti-Slavery International.
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