A Roma Gypsy gang has been found guilty of trafficking vulnerable Slovakian women into the UK to sell into sham marriages “like pieces of meat”, Scotland Yard said.
The poverty-stricken women were recruited in their native Slovakia and brought to the UK to be sold in to marriages with Indian and Pakistani men desperate to stay in the country.
The money-making scheme was uncovered after one of the women was raped by the Pakistani man she was sold to in March 2013, the Old Bailey heard.
While being treated in hospital for her brutal injuries, she revealed to staff that she was a victim of rape and trafficking, sparking a major police investigation.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Keith McCormack, of the Met’s Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said: “The victims in this case were all vulnerable women, living in desperate conditions in Slovakia, whose circumstances ensured they could be easily exploited.
“Once in the UK, their ID documents were taken from them and, not knowing any English, they were trapped and unable to seek assistance.
“The traffickers treated these women like pieces of meat and planned to sell them for cash to men from non-EU countries. One of the victims was raped by the man she was sold to, and he was jailed for this.”
The women, from Kosice in Slovakia, which became a European Union member state in 2004, believed they were being brought to the UK for legitimate work.
Roman Ziga, 26, known by the nickname “Romeo”, his brother Jozef Ziga, 28, and Igor Boros, 43, all Slovakian nationals of Kosice, were found guilty of recruiting four women in their home country, Scotland Yard said.
Roman Ziga was found not guilty of involvement in trafficking and immigration offences in relation to one of the victims.
Three other gang members based in the UK – Tibor Suchy, 29, his wife Viktoria Sanova, 29, and his brother-in-law Rene Sana, 31 of Gravesend – were previously convicted of trafficking one of the women.
They pleaded guilty to trafficking the other three victims at the outset of this 13-week long trial.
A date for sentencing has yet to be set.
The Zigas, Boros and Suchy have all been remanded in custody. Sana and Sanova were released on bail.