1. ITV Report

Jail for gang who trafficked woman

Abdul Shinwary, Azam Khan, Imrich Bodor Photo:

A woman was thrust into a "sordid world" of international people trafficking when she was brought to the UK and later sold to a man in Lancashire who forced her into a sham marriage and repeatedly raped her, a judge said.

The "unsophisticated" 20-year-old was kidnapped from her rural home in Slovakia and put on a coach where she believed she was heading for the Czech Republic to find work.

Instead, she was taken to London and then on to Bradford, West Yorkshire, where she was kept prisoner for weeks by fellow Slovakian Imrich Bodor, 45, before he passed her on to Pakistani asylum seeker Abdul Sabool Shinwary.

Shinwary, 38, also from Bradford, was a known fixer of sham marriages between Asians and Eastern Europeans, Preston Crown Court heard.

He sold her like "cattle" as a prospective bride to Azam Khan, 34, who took her to live above his uncle and aunt's shop in Burnley, Lancashire.

The Pakistani national went on to "wed" her just weeks before he was due to be removed from Britain as an illegal overstayer.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was again kept against her will as she was raped and beaten by Khan.

Her ordeal only came to end when an anonymous call to the police last October led to her discovery at the address in Brougham Street.

The victim returned home in January but returned to the UK to give evidence at the trial where Khan, Shinwary and Bodor were convicted of their crimes.

Bodor, of Clipstone Street, was jailed for nine years after he was found guilty of trafficking and false imprisonment.

Shinwary, of Washington Street, was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for the same offences, while Khan was jailed for 12 years for rape, battery, trafficking and false imprisonment.

Khan's aunt, Nusrat Khan, 41, of Colne Road, Burnley, received a nine-month jail term, suspended for two years, after the jury found her guilty of false imprisonment. She was cleared of trafficking, as was her husband, Mashrafat.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said: "Over the past two months or so and during the course of this trial the jury and I through the evidence have observed at close quarters a sordid world of international people trafficking.

"And in particular we have observed the trauma, pain and distressed suffered by one of its victims."

He said the woman was "unsophisticated and had no real knowledge of the wider world" and was "plainly vulnerable to manipulation".

The judge added: "There is no doubt that even though there is one victim in this case, this is a serious case of exploitation involving elements of modern slavery in an organised manner."

Opening the case, prosecutor Joe Boyd said what linked all the people involved was a "series of events which sounds more like something from a 19th century novel by Dickens than anything happening in Europe in the 21st century".

Following the verdicts, the victim issued a statement through Lancashire Police in which she 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.

"Thank you to the police and all the other good people who looked after me and got me back to my family.

"Thank you for believing me."

Shinwary's ex-partner, Kristina Makunova, 37, of Girlington Road, Bradford, was jailed for 51 weeks after she admitted false imprisonment and trafficking at the start of the trial. She went on to give evidence for the prosecution.

Bodor's girlfriend, Petra Dzudzova, 25, also of Clipstone Street, will be sentenced on Friday for trafficking.

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