Four people have been sentenced to a total of over 30 years behind bars after a woman was trafficked into the UK and sold to a man in Burnley for a sham marriage.
Imrich Bodor, Abdul Sabool Shinwary, Petra Dzudzova, and Azam Khan were charged with human trafficking offences and false imprisonment following the discovery of a Slovakian woman at an address in Burnley in October 2012.
Following police inquiries, it emerged that the victim had been taken from her home in Slovakia in August 2012 and brought into the United Kingdom by Imrich Bodor, who lived with Petra Dzudzova at an address in Bradford. She was then taken to another house in Bradford, where Abdul Sabool Shinwary and Kristina Makunova lived. She was later sold to Azam Khan, who lived at an address in Burnley.
Imrich Bodor, Abdul Sabool Shinwary, Petra Dzudzova and Azam Khan were found guilty of human trafficking offences and false imprisonment following a trial. Azam Khan was also found guilty of three counts of rape and battery.
Kristina Makunova pleaded guilty to human trafficking and false imprisonment during the first week of the trial.
Nusrat Khan, a relative of Azam Khan who lived with him in Burnley, was also found guilty of false imprisonment.
This has been a complex case and the CPS has worked closely alongside the police to overcome various logistic challenges and language barriers in order to bring this case before the court. This included enlisting the services of a specialist interpreter as well as flying the victim over from Slovakia and providing her with safe accommodation during the trial. The CPS applied for special measures which enabled the victim to give her evidence via a live video link. All of these provisions enabled her to give her best evidence in court.
Emma Kehoe, Crown Advocate for CPS North West said:
“This case involved the trafficking of a vulnerable young woman from Slovakia into the United Kingdom. She was brought into this country before being sold to Azam Khan in Burnley, who bought her in an attempt to secure his immigration status.
“She has been falsely imprisoned, beaten and raped. She had no money or identity documents and she was unable to speak English or ask anyone for help. She was threatened and told she was not allowed to leave.
“Throughout the investigation and the trial, the welfare of the victim in this case has been paramount. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that she has been given the best possible support, including enlisting the services of a specialist translator.
“We have been able to secure successful convictions against these defendants and they have now been given custodial sentences for the terrible ordeal that they have subjected their victim to. I would like to commend the victim for her bravery and I hope today’s outcome allows her to move on with her life.
“All cases of human trafficking are extremely serious, complex and require sensitive handling. The CPS will continue to work with the police and other agencies to tackle this form of modern day slavery and bring those who are responsible for it before the courts.”