Human trafficking trial: Woman 'forced to marry' man she did not know

Published
image captionThe High Court in Glasgow heard that Ms Adiova was brought to Glasgow without any money and with only the clothes she wore

A woman has told a court how she was brought to Glasgow penniless and forced to marry a man she did not know.

Adriana Adiova, 28, said she had thought that she and her sister were leaving Slovakia for jobs in London.

But the court heard she ended up in a flat in Glasgow with no job and no money.

Ms Adiova was giving evidence at the trial of three men and a woman accused of human trafficking and forcing women into prostitution.

Vojtech Gombar, 61, Anil Wagle, 37, Jana Sandorova, 28, and Ratislav Adam, 31, deny the charges against them at the High Court in Glasgow.

Prosecutors allege that women were held in "slavery or servitude".

The allegations span from 2011 to 2017 and mainly centre on flats in Glasgow's Govanhill area.

'Job offer'

All four are accused of "conspiring to commit the crime of trafficking people for exploitation and trafficking in prostitution".

Gombar, Sandorova and Adam are also charged with compelling women to work as prostitutes and managing a brothel.

Ms Adiova, speaking via a video link from Slovakia, said another woman called Helena Cicova came to her home in 2011 and offered her a good job in England "with potatoes".

But, instead, the court heard she was flown to Glasgow and ended up in a flat in Govanhill.

The woman said that when she left her home town, she had only the clothes on her back, no money and could not speak any English.

She was asked by prosecutor Kath Harper: "Was there any work for you in Glasgow?" Through an interpreter she replied: "No. Helena told me there was no work for me."

Ms Adiova added: "I wished to go home but there was a problem. I had no money and couldn't buy tickets."

'I was afraid'

She was asked if she knew where Glasgow was in the UK and replied: "No, I thought I was in London."

Ms Adiova told the court that she twice met Cicova's cousin Gombar, whom she called uncle.

On one of these occasions, she went to Gombar's Glasgow home. There were also two Pakistani men there.

She said she was informed one of the men wanted to find a bride for his son and wanted to choose "the older one", which was her.

The court heard that she married Sohaib Ali in a restaurant in Drogheda, Country Meath, on 26 June 2012.

The prosecutor said: "Were you asked if your marriage was voluntary?" and Ms Adiova replied: "Yes."

Ms Harper went on: "Was that true?" She said: "It was not true. I did not love my husband and I did not know him."

Ms Adiova was asked why she went through with the marriage and she replied: "I was forced. What else could I do without money?

"Helena told me I must get married and I was afraid."

'Good business'

The witness was asked if she overheard Gombar and Cicova discussing anything before she left for Ireland and said: "I heard Helena say it was good business."

Ms Adiova said that was all she could remember of that conversation.

But when she was asked about further comments she made in a statement given to Slovakian police, she agreed they were true.

In the statement she said: "Helena said she wouldn't give me any money, but would split it with Vojtech Gombar. They said it was 4,000 euros for the wedding."

The couple, who could only communicate by gestures, have since divorced and Ms Adiova is back in Slovakia.

The trial before Lord Beckett continues.

More on this story