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Gang guilty of trafficking woman and selling her as 'slave'
6:00am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
Four human traffickers from Bradford who were involved in snatching a young woman in Eastern Europe so she could be brought to the UK for a sham marriage are now facing jail.
Imrich Bodor, 45, of Clipstone Street, West Bowling, Bradford, plied the 23-year-old victim with alcohol in the eastern Slovakian town of Templin before bringing her to this country.
Her travel documents were seized and she was told she was being brought to London to work, Preston Crown Court was told.
But the young woman ended up being taken to Bradford, where she was held captive before being ‘bought’ by Burnley store assistant Azam Kham to take part in a bogus wedding.
Jurors heard how Abdul Shinwary, of Washington Street, Girlington, Bradford, brought the 23-year-old to the corner shop where Khan, 38, worked, and she was imprisoned upstairs.
Khan not only beat her but raped her on at least three occasions, said prosecutor Joe Boyd. The couple were later ‘married’ in a mosque opposite the shop.
But an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public brought Lancashire Police to the store on October 20 last year, to question Khan.
The victim, who spoke no English, was later found at the nearby home of Khan’s aunt, Nusrat Khan, and taken into protective custody by officers.
She told detectives that she had been kept as a slave above the shop and just wanted to be reunited with her family in Slovakia.
Later police arrested the Khans and conducted a number of raids in Bradford, arresting Bodor, Shinwary, along with their associates Petra Dzudova, 25, and Kristina Makunova, 37.
Following a two-month trial Bodor and Dzudzova, both of Clipstone Street, were convicted of trafficking and false imprisonment. Makunova, of Girlington Road, Bradford, admitted similar offences before the hearing.
Shinwary was also found guilty of trafficking, false imprisonment and sexual assault.
Azam Khan, 34, of Broughton Street, Burnley, was convicted of trafficking, three charges of rape, battery and false imprisonment. Nusrat Khan, 45, also from Burnley, was found guilty of false imprisonment. Her husband Mashfarat Khan, 61, was found not guilty on the direction of Judge Jonathan Gibson part way through the trial.
Judge Gibson will pass sentence after hearing defence submissions today.
Speaking after the case, the victim, who is now back home with family in Slovakia said: “I am very happy that these bad people are going to prison.
“This is what I always wanted after what they did to me. Thank-you to the person who rang the police.
“I was so scared for my life. Many times I wanted to run away from them. But because of what the bad people told me, I didn’t know where to run, where to go, or who I could trust.
“All I wanted to do was go home to my family in Slovakia. If the police hadn’t come to get me, I don’t think I would be here today.”
Det Insp Neil Howarth, of Burnley CID, said: “This is a case of modern-day slavery. The victim in this case has been trafficked into and within the UK, sold, subjected to assaults, rape and further sold for marriage.”
He paid tribute to the ‘bravery’ of the victim and also thanked the local resident who provided the anonymous tip-off, which alerted the authorities to her plight.