UK Government

UK Border Agency: Sheffield sex trafficking gang jailed

Press Release   •   Dec 14, 2009 10:57 GMT

A Slovakian gang who falsely imprisoned a teenage girl and forced her into a life of prostitution has been jailed for a total of 50 years following an operation by the UK Border Agency and South Yorkshire police.

The two men and one woman orchestrated the 15-year-old Slovakian's passage to the UK and then forced her to sell herself for sex on the streets of Sheffield. She was only rescued from her ordeal when a 'client' called the police believing she was being forced to have sex for money.

Investigations by the UK Border Agency's joint police Immigration Crime Team revealed she may have made the gang £200-£300 by working for 12 hours each night. In court it was estimated she had been made to have sex with at least 40 men.

Welcoming the verdict in Operation Reservoir, Regional Director for the UK Border Agency Jeremy Oppenheim said:

"This was a horrific crime involving the sexual exploitation of a young girl and I am pleased at the tough sentences handed out today which show there is no hiding place for people who break the law.

"The UK Border Agency is committed to identifying victims of trafficking and tackling criminal networks that facilitate their exploitation."

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard how the teenager was snared into a life of prostitution when she ran away from a children's home in Slovakia after attending her mother's funeral in May 2009. The girl, who was placed in a children's home in September 2008, decided not to return after the funeral and instead took a train to the town of Trnava.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was promised a better life in Sheffield by Roman Dunka and Alzbeta Dunkova.  She was given a passport and together with Dunkova travelled to France by coach and then crossed into the UK.

On arriving in Sheffield she was taken to the home of Dunkova and her husband Marcel Dunka which they shared with others. In the coming weeks she was taken out on to the streets of Sheffield at night and forced to have sex for around £20 or £30 a time. During the day she slept and cleaned the family's house. This was the routine for the Slovak teenager until she escaped in mid June this year by pleading for help from a 'client'.

Detective Chief Inspector for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber Immigration Crime Team Dave Powell said:

"These substantial sentences are welcomed by the team and we send out a message to those who deal with vulnerable people as a commodity, we will actively and vigorously pursue all investigations of this type. UK Border Agency officers and police have worked hard to secure these convictions against a group of evil individuals who targeted someone who put her trust in them.

"The victim is now being cared for by a team of professionals who will attempt to help her to rebuild her life and put this misery behind her."

When sentencing the defendants, Judge Roger Keen recommended they be deported on completion of their sentences.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The following defendants, who denied all charges, were found guilty after a nine day trial.

Roman Dunka - sentenced to 17 years
Trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years
Trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years
False imprisonment - Four years
(These three sentences to run concurrent)

Causing child prostitution - Nine years 
Controlling a child prostitute - Nine years
(These two sentences to run concurrent)

Alzbeta Dunkova - sentenced to 16 years
Trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years
Trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years

Causing child prostitution - Eight Years
Controlling a child prostitute - Eight Years
(These two sentences to run concurrent)

Marcel Dunka - sentenced to 17 years
Trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years
Trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation - Eight years
False imprisonment - Four years
Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity - Four years
(These four sentences to run concurrent)

Causing child prostitution - Nine years 
Controlling a child prostitute - Nine years
(These two sentences to run concurrent)

2. The following defendant was acquitted on all charges.

Zaneta Horvathova
Controlling a child prostitute - Not guilty
Causing child prostitution - Not guilty

3. The North East, Yorkshire and the Humber Immigration Crime Team were set up in April 2008 and is one of several regional teams. These specialist teams of seconded police officer and the UK Border Agency staff have been set up to investigate crime, and prosecute those behind it.

Contact

UK Border Agency/Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

UKBA02/2009

Contacts

NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk