Sex-trafficking gang found guilty in Glasgow High Court

The women were lured from Slovakia to flats in Govanhill in Glasgow. (Getty)
The women were lured from Slovakia to flats in Govanhill in Glasgow. (Getty)

A human-trafficking gang have been found guilty of bringing women to the UK from Eastern Europe and forcing them into prostitution and sham marriages.

Eight women were lured from Trebisov in Slovakia to flats in Govanhill between 2011 and 2017 and were exploited by the gang.

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Five of them were brought for arranged marriages with Pakistani men while the others were forced into prostitution.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that one victim was sold for £10,000 outside a Primark branch in the city.

Vojtech Gombar, 61, Anil Raj Wagle, 37, Jana Sandorova, 28, and Ratislav Adam, 31, all also from Trebisov, have now been convicted of forcing women into prostitution and servitude.

Ringleader: Vojtech Gombar was found guilty of 13 charges involving eight women, while Wagle was convicted of four charges, mainly involving one of the victims
Ringleader: Vojtech Gombar was found guilty of 13 charges involving eight women, while Wagle was convicted of four charges, mainly involving one of the victims

All four men, who denied the charges, will be sentenced next month.

Police first became aware of the trafficking and exploitation in 2014 but it took a three-year operation before about 70 officers raided four flats in the Govanhill area, leading to their arrests.

Police helped more than a dozen suspected victims, aged between 18 and 25, to safety over the course of the investigation.

One woman, giving evidence to the trial via videolink from Slovakia, said she had been offered a well-paid job in England picking potatoes.

The four have been found guilty by Glasgow high Court. Here, Anil Raj Wagle (PA)
The four have been found guilty by Glasgow high Court. Here, Anil Raj Wagle (PA)

But when she arrived in Glasgow, she was sent to Ireland to marry a Pakistani man she's never met.

Another woman told the court she was brought to the UK when she was four or five months pregnant, “for a better life”.

She was handed over to a Nepalese man outside Primark in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in 2014 for £10,000.

The woman also claimed that prior to being sold, she was made to sleep with Pakistani men for money.

Gombar was found guilty of 13 charges involving eight women, while Wagle was convicted of four charges, mainly involving one of the victims.

Sandorova was found guilty of six charges against two women and Adam was convicted of seven charges involving three of them. Sandorova is Gombar’s step-daugghter and Adam is her partner.

All three are Slovakian, from the eastern town of Trebisov, from where most of the women were trafficked.

Prosecutor Kath Harper said: “Vojtech Gombar shows a clear, compelling and powerful pattern of behaviour in recruiting, transporting and exploiting women.

The women were trafficked to the UK, usually by bus and car, having been promised a better life and work. Here, Jana Sandorova, step-daughter of Gombar. (PA)
The women were trafficked to the UK, usually by bus and car, having been promised a better life and work. Here, Jana Sandorova, step-daughter of Gombar. (PA)

“He exploited them by forcing them into marriage with virtual strangers from which he benefited financially, and/or forcing them into prostitution, from which he and associates benefited.’

One of the victims was forced to have sex with two or three men a day for at least eight months.

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Ms Harper told the court: “Her autonomy was completely stripped from her and her body became nothing but a vehicle for Gombar and others to make money. ‘It is perhaps hard to imagine a more callous and uncaring way to treat another human being.”

The gang promised the women a better life in the UK. Here, Ratislav Adam. (PA)
The gang promised the women a better life in the UK. Here, Ratislav Adam. (PA)

Detective Inspector McMillan said all the women involved, most of whom are now back in Slovakia, were severely traumatised by what happened to them.

He said: "It is unbelievable in this day and age but, yes, women were being sold as a commodity in Glasgow."

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