Tayside and Central Scotland

Three Slovakians found guilty of human trafficking

Image caption Ivan Balog, Helena Kulova and Renata Kulova were found guilty of human trafficking

Three Slovakian nationals have been found guilty of trafficking two women from their own country into Scotland.

Helena Kulova, 47, Renata Kulova, 20, and Ivan Balog, 27, were convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court under the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004.

They had denied charges of transporting the two women with the intent of "exploiting them in the UK or elsewhere".

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro deferred sentence on the three until January.

Helena Kulova "facilitated the travel to the UK" of one woman between 1 May and 31 May this year.

Facilitated movements

The trio also arranged for another woman to be brought to the UK from Slovakia between 28 June and 25 July.

The court heard they moved the woman in Slovakia and between Glasgow and Perth, with a view to exploiting her.

Following the verdict, Tayside Police said anyone involved in human trafficking should be aware that the force would continue to do all within their powers to curtail people trafficking.

Det Supt Willie Semple said: ''The victims in this case were a vulnerable, trusting young couple who only wanted to seek out work and the relative prosperity that comes with it, so they could help to provide for loved ones and make a life for themselves.

''Instead they were preyed upon, exploited and left in a bewildering and extremely upsetting situation through no real fault of their own.

"Human trafficking seldom comprises of isolated incidents. It is the lucrative domain of serious organised crime groups that seek to profit at the expense of innocent people. They are criminals who have no regard whatsoever for the people they seek to exploit."

Resourceful family

He said the victims had been lucky in this case.

''The consequences could have been far worse but for the woman's appeal for help in a phone call back home and the family's resourcefulness in contacting the Slovakian police," he said.

''They in turn contacted the British authorities and through some excellent inter-agency work led by Tayside Police, which also included Interpol, the Metropolitan Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency, as well as the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, Strathclyde Police, the UK Border Agency and other forces, we were able to intervene and bring this young couple's nightmare to an end.

''Human trafficking is a crime that can be hidden from public sight, but this modern day slavery will not escape the attention of the authorities and we will work tirelessly to set the innocent victims of such crimes free and hold those responsible for such exploitation to account."

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