Gombar (pictured outside Glasgow’s High Court) was part of a gang that sold a woman for £10,000 outside Primark
A gang that sold a woman for £10,000 outside Primark is facing jail for forcing Slovakian females into slavery and prostitution in the UK.
Vojtech Gombar, 61, Anil Wagle, 37, Jana Sandorova, 28, and Ratislav Adam, 31, were convicted at the High Court in Glasgow.
They helped to transport eight young women from poverty-stricken Slovakia to flats in the city’s Govanhill between November 2011 and February 2017 in order to exploit them.
Gombar was the ringleader for the gang. Jurors heard how one victim was sold for £10,000 outside Primark in the city’s Argyle Street.
Five of the women were brought over for arranged marriages to Pakistani men. Some of the women – though not all – were forced into prostitution.
One was turned back at Calais by UK Border Force officers. She had no possessions or money and was accompanied by Gombar, who had two suitcases containing his possessions. He abandoned her at the ferry port. Jurors returned verdicts after more than five days of deliberations.
Gombar was found guilty of 13 charges involving eight of the women. An accusation involving a ninth woman was found not proven.
Wagle was convicted of four charges mainly involving one of the victims. Sandorova was meantime guilty of six charges featuring two women.
Adam was finally convicted of seven charges involving three victims. Lord Beckett remanded the gang – all from Govanhill – in custody pending sentencing for reports. They will return to the dock in Edinburgh on November 8.
One woman – who had been with the gang during the case – sobbed loudly after the verdicts. The trial had lasted around seven weeks.
The court heard how the majority of the women gave evidence by video link from Slovakia and through an interpreter.
Adam and Sandrova (both pictured, left) were part of a gang that brought women to the UK to be sold into prostitution as was Wagle (pictured, right)
All had come to Scotland with the promise of a better life and a job but were either forced to take part in marriages against their will or made to work as prostitutes.
Gombar is pictured posing with money he made from the gang’s illegal activities
Jurors heard the harrowing stories of the vulnerable victims who arrived here penniless, with no possessions and only the clothes they were wearing. Their ID cards, which could have helped them to flee back home were snatched.
The women – who did not speak any English – were watched and never allowed out on their own.
The horrific crimes only came to light after one brave woman managed to escape and run to a shop in the southside of the city for help.
She spoke only Roma and Slovakian – but, the shopkeeper – who did not understand her – phoned police.
The officers asked two young girls in the store to help with translation. They then managed to work out that Gombar had her ID card.
The document was found in Gombar’s flat in the city’s Allison Street. This sparked a major investigation.
Jana Sandorova (right), 28, and Ratislav Adam (left), 31, were also convicted at the High Court in Glasgow today after five days of deliberation
It was Gombar – along with accomplices in Slovakia – who found the women and brought them to the UK.
Prosecutor Kath Harper said: ‘Vojtech Gombar shows a startlingly clear, compelling and powerful pattern of behaviour in recruiting, transporting and exploiting these women.
‘He exploited them by either forcing them into marriage with virtual strangers from which he benefitted financially and/or forcing them into prostitution from which he and his associates benefitted.’
The court heard that one of the women was forced to have sex with two or three men Pakistani men in a day for at least eight months.
Ms Harper said: ‘Her autonomy was completely stripped from her and her body became nothing but a vehicle for Gombar and others to make money.
Gombar (left) and Wagle (right) helped to transport young women to the UK, five of which were brought over for arranged marriages to Pakistani men
‘It is perhaps hard to imagine a more callous and uncaring way to treat another human being.’
Sandorova and Adam were Gombar’s step-daughter and her partner. Wagle, from Nepal, became involved initially because he wanted to buy a bride.
The woman he ‘bought’ claimed that he raped her although he was not charged with that offence.
There was evidence from phone messages that he was trying to make money selling women to other men.
One woman told of how Sandorova gave her a short skirt and ‘sexy’ clothing so that she would look more provocative and make money from prostitution. Another victim overheard a conversation between Adam and Gombar.
She told the court: ‘I believe he was involved in a similar thing to what Vojtech Gombar was doing, like taking girls and so on.
‘At the time he had no girls, however I heard him say he be doing the same thing as Gombar, according to what I heard he was planning to get girls for sale.’
Ms Harper said: ‘Ratislav Adam was acting along with Gombar in controlling one woman and keeping her in servitude, if not slavery.
‘He sold a woman in the city centre of Glasgow along with Jana Sandorova to Anil Wagle.
‘After varying amounts of time the women did get away, but it was rarely anything to do with the accused.’
The charges the four was guilty of included intent to exploit women, holding some in slavery or servitude as well as causing victims to work as prostitutes.
Lord Beckett heaped praise on the Slovakian authorities in helping get justice in Scotland.
He said: ‘Without the invaluable, international co-operation this trial could not have taken place.
‘Their efforts has allowed justice to be done in relation to very serious and damaging criminal conduct.’