Manchester

Czech gang forced men and women into slavery in Manchester

Julius Rigo, Darina Rigová, Karel Adam, and Blanka Sarkoziova Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Julius Rigo, Darina Rigová, Karel Adam, and Blanka Sarkoziova arrested following a probe into modern-day slavery

A man who sexually exploited vulnerable women and forced men into slavery in Greater Manchester has been jailed, police have said.

Julius Rigo, 37, from Czech Republic, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for human trafficking, rape, blackmail, threats to kill and bigamy.

Between 2012 and 2016, Rigo forced 13 men and women to work for practically no payment, a police spokesman added.

Two women and two other men were also sentenced for their involvement.

Rigo and his accomplices were charged in the Czech Republic as a result of an investigation by the Czech National Organized Crime Agency and the Modern Slavery Coordination Unit at Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Police said Rigo targeted vulnerable residents from Most in the Czech Republic and offered them well-paid work in Gorton and Levenshulme.

After transporting them to Manchester and recruiting Czech citizens in the area, he took away their identity documents and used threats and violence to force them into work, a spokesman for GMP said.

Det Con Christopher Nield, one of GMP's dedicated Modern Slavery officers, said: "I hope this sends a clear message that we will not stand for modern slavery in Greater Manchester.

"Our officers are absolutely committed to making sure that people who subject others to this horrific treatment are brought to justice."

Enquiries also established Rigo committed bigamy while he was married to Darina Rigová and he also sexually assaulted one of his victims on several occasions.

GMP has confirmed the following sentences were handed down at County Court in Ùstí nad Labem:

  • Julius Rigo, 37, from Czech Republic, was sentenced to 18 years for human trafficking, rape, blackmail, threats to kill and bigamy.
  • Darina Rigová, 22, from Czech Republic, was sentenced to nine years for human trafficking.
  • Karel Adam, 48, from Czech Republic, was sentenced to six years for human trafficking.
  • Blanka Sarkoziova, 42, from Walsall, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for three years for controlling prostitution.
  • Josef Rigo, 33, from Czech Republic, was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years for blackmail.