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Slovakian mother 'sold for £10,000 outside Primark'

The 24-year-old claimed she was bought by a Nepalese man called Nel in Glasgow.

Human trafficking trial: Primark on Argyle Street.
Human trafficking trial: Primark on Argyle Street. STV

A Slovakian mum was sold for £10,000 outside a Primark in Glasgow city centre, a court has been told.

The 24-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she was bought by a Nepalese man called Nel outside the store in Argyle Street.

She was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow, in the trial of Vojtech Gombar, 61, Anil Wagle, 37, Jana Sandorova, 28,and Ratislav Adam, 31, who deny trafficking women into Scotland for prostitution and slavery.

Prosecutors allege that women were brought over from Slovakia and held in "slavery or servitude" between 2011 to 2017.

The woman said she was brought over from her home town of Trebisov, Slovakia, in 2014 when she was four or five months pregnant "for a better life".

She was asked by prosecutor Kath Harper: "Who was there in Glasgow City Centre?"

The woman said: "They were speaking all about the money and then they left me with him."

She was asked how much money changed hands and said she could not remember.

The witness was shown a statement which she gave on May 19, 2015.

In it she said: "She wanted me to bring some money in and then she sold me for £10,000."

Ms Harper asked: "What currency was that in?" and the witness replied: "It was £10,000."

She was then asked: "Did you see the money changing hands," and replied: "I'm not sure, it may have, but I forget."

Ms Harper then said: "After the money was paid you were just left with Nel," and the mother-of-two replied: "Yes, Nel took me to Primark to buy clothes and then to his home."

'She wanted me to bring some money in and then she sold me for £10,000.'
Witness

The witness was asked: "Did to want to stay with Nel," and she said: "No."

Ms Harper then said: "Did you tell him that?" and the woman told the jury: "Yes, but he wanted me to stay with him. He wanted me to sleep with him because when they sold me he thought I was his wife.

"I told him I wanted to get away from him and he said he'd paid money for me."

The woman was asked why she never went to the police and she told the court: "I was worried because someone could harm me or my family in Slovakia could be in danger."

The woman said she stayed at Nel's home for a month and claimed he locked her in the house when he went out.

She added: "Nel didn't treat me very well. He constantly wanted to sleep with me all the time."

'He wanted me to stay with him. He wanted me to sleep with him because when they sold me he thought I was his wife.'
Witness

Ms Harper asked the woman: "Did you want to sleep with him?" and she replied: "No, because I was pregnant at the time. I was worried and very unhappy."

The woman said she eventually jumped out a window when Nel was out and took a taxi to Sandorova's house.

The witness also claimed that prior to allegedly being sold for cash she was made to sleep with Pakistani men for money and described this as "hitchhiking".

She added: "I don't wish to talk about it - it makes me very sad."

Ms Harper asked: "What did Janke want you to do?" and she said: "She wanted me to hitchhike so I would earn money."

The witness was asked who she would give the money to and replied: "Rasto in the morning."

All four accused, who live in Govanhill, Glasgow, are alleged 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. They are alleged to have told one woman they would make her homeless unless she worked as a prostitute and threatened another with violence.

The charge claims they "discussed plans to purchase or obtain control and ownership of women" from Slovakia and elsewhere in the UK.

The accusations are said to have been "aggravated by a connection with serious and organised crime".

The trial before Lord Beckett continues.

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