Scottish court convicts traffickers of exploiting young women
On Friday a court in Glasgow, Scotland found three Romani people from eastern Slovakia guilty of exploiting young women from their home community by forcing them into prostitution or selling them into marriage in Scotland, according to the BBC. The fourth member of the gang, a 37-year-old man originally from Nepal, was convicted along with a 61-year-old man, a 31-year-old man, and a 28-year-old woman.
The quartet will learn the length of their sentences next month. The convicted trio of Slovak citizens - all of whom are insisting on their innocence - come from Trebišov near Slovakia's border with Ukraine, as did most of their victims.
The group of modern slave-traders is said to have operated in Glasgow between 2011 and 2017, promising their victims a better life and employment in Scotland - but after they transported the women there, they would sell them into fraudulent marriages for anywhere between EUR 3 000 and EUR 10 000. Some of the women were forced into prostitution.
The clients of the criminal organization were mainly men from Pakistan who wanted to become EU citizens. Police characterized the conduct of the quartet as "despicable".
Their activities were not discovered until 2014, but arresting the suspects was possible only after a complex, three-year-long investigation involving the international law enforcement agencies of Eurojust and Europol. According to the BBC, the police officers aided more than a dozen suspected victims between 18 and 25 years of age with safely escaping their traffickers during the investigation.
"This is a heinous crime," said detective Steven McMillan, who led the police operation. "It's horrific to think that people think it is acceptable to buy and sell other human beings as a commodity, to have no thought for the impact and trauma it is going to have on them."
There have been several such cases in recent years. At the beginning of September, the Slovak Police announced they had arrested members of a gang who had enslaved victims in England.
Last year the British courts sent at least two groups from Slovakia to prison for human trafficking. In one of those cases the victims were also from the Czech Republic.
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