Two Czech citizens have been charged with human trafficking in the UK, the Czech national centre for fighting organized crime reported on Monday. The two men were active in Cardiff, Wales since 2012 where they offered young Czechs lucrative work but later confiscated their papers and forced them into manual labour for food and accommodation. They were beaten and forced to work long hours in several jobs. If convicted they would face a prison sentence of five to twelve years.
Three Eritreans, believed to be illegal immigrants, were found in a Czech truck by British police at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The lorry driver called police after hearing suspicious noises in the back of the truck, according to The Mail Online. Police have not given further details. Eritreans form one of the biggest group of asylum seekers in Britain.
The Czech-British Conference on Human Trafficking in Prague is a three-day event organised by the Czech Ministry of the Interior and British Embassy in Prague. The conference, which had its final day on Wednesday, is designed to spotlight issues relating to human trafficking. Klára Skřivánková is a Czech-born Advocacy Coordinator at the UK-based Anti-Slavery International. I asked her to describe the aims of the conference:
The High Court in Olomouc on Thursday upheld sentences of five and six years respectively for trafficking in women. The suspects – a man and a woman -were found guilty of bringing over two young women from Honduras to work as waitresses in restaurants and then forcing them into prostitution. Three others who assisted them received suspended sentences. Both women are now back home.
A court in Brno has sentenced the ring-leaders of a gang which forced Ukrainian women into prostitution to seven years in prison. The gang brought over a dozen girls to the Czech Republic, arranging their visas and promising them work as waitresses, before taking away their passports and forcing them into prostitution at a nightclub outside the city. The owner of the nightclub received a five year sentence.
The Czech Republic is said to have one of the highest levels of slavery in Europe. According to the first edition of the Global Slavery Index, compiled by Australia’s Walk Free Foundation, the country ranks third in Europe with some 38,000 persons believed to face severe exploitation. The authors of the survey admit the figures are just rough estimates, but many Czech experts agree the country needs to address forced labour, human trafficking and similar issues much more effectively.
Czech police have arrested a Polish citizen near the Czech-Polish border who attempted to smuggle three Georgian citizens across the country to France. The Georgians, a man and two women, aged 20, 22 and 53, were not allowed to leave Poland, where they were staying in an asylum. Each paid the trafficker about 30,000 Czech crowns to bring them to France. The 53-year-old Pole faces a prison sentence of up to five years if found guilty.
The Czech police’s organized crime unit has busted an international gang of men who were engaged in human trafficking, pimping and illegal drug production. The leader of the gang, a 30-year-old Czech, as well as the nine other members of Slovak, Ukrainian and Croatian nationalities, approached young women in crisis situations and led them to believe that they could offer them a lucrative job opportunity. The victims of the gang were forced to prostitute themselves along the E55 highway. Those who failed to make at least 150 euros per day were beaten and refused food. The men face prison sentences of up to 12 years; the gang’s leader is already behind bars for other criminal activities.
The organized crime squad of the Czech police has cracked down on a ring of Nigerian people smugglers. The group of six is charged with illegally smuggling at least 25 Nigerian women to the Czech Republic and forcing them into prostitution. The head of the gang was a 37-year-old Nigerian woman living in the Czech Republic. The accused face up to 15 years in prison.
The District Court in České Budějovice has sentenced six people to two to eight years for attempted drug and human trafficking. The court found on Wednesday that the group had organised the transfer of Czech prostitutes to a brothel in Switzerland in 2009, as well as a delivery of drugs of their own making. A woman who the group did bring to Switzerland was allegedly kept in a locked room by a Swiss man and was repeatedly raped and beaten. A decision in his trial is expected later this week.