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Burnley man found guilty of rape in slavery trial
A FORMER shop worker in Burnley is facing a substantial jail sentence after he was convicted of repeatedly raping a young woman he had wed in a sham marriage.
Detectives uncovered an international human trafficking operation after receiving a tip-off that an Eastern European national was being kept prisoner above a corner shop.
Jurors heard during a two-month trial how the victims was: * Kidnapped in Eastern Slovakia after being plied with alcohol.
* Forced to travel to England after having her ID snatched from her.
* Imprisoned in a house in Bradford, where she was molested.
* ‘Bought’ for £4,000 by a man desperate to avoid deportation.
* Kept above a 24-hour store and repeatedly raped.
Her new ‘husband’ - Azam Khan - had approached contacts in Bradford, via a cousin, when he outstayed his work visa, a Preston Crown Court jury was told.
The 23-year-old victim, who spoke no English, was later brought to Burnley by Abdul Shinwary, from Bradford, so he could marry ‘a European girl’ and remain in the UK.
Khan insisted he bought her a necklace and toiletries - but the victim later told police she was kept as a slave above the Khan Brothers store in Brougham Street and sexually abused.
Jurors found Khan, 34, of Brougham Street, Burnley, guilty of trafficking the woman for exploitation, false imprisonment, three charges of rape and one offence of battery.
His aunt, Nusrat Khan, 40, at whose Colne Road home the young woman was eventually found by police, was convicted of false imprisonment but found not guilty of trafficking.
Shinwary, of Girlington Road, Bradford, was convicted of two trafficking offences, false imprisonment and sexual assault.
Her alleged Bradford captors, Imrich Bodor, 45, and Petra Dzudzova, 25, were also convicted of trafficking and false imprisonment.
Trial judge Jonathan Gibson remanded all defendants except Nusrat Khan, who had been on bail, for sentencing today (Thurs).
Kristina Makunova, 37, of Girlington Road, Bradford, admitted trafficking before the trial commenced.
Speaking after the case, the victim, who is now back home with family in Slovakia said: "I am very happy that these bad people are going to prison.
“This is what I always wanted after what they did to me. Thank-you to the person who rang the police.
“I was so scared for my life. Many times I wanted to run away from them. But because of what the bad people told me, I didn’t know where to run, where to go, or who I could trust.
“All I wanted to do was go home to my family in Slovakia. If the police hadn’t come to get me, I don’t think I would be here today.”
Det Insp Neil Howarth said: “This is a case of modern-day slavery The victim in this case has been trafficked into and within the UK, sold, subjected to assaults, rape and further sold for marriage.”
He paid tribute to the ‘bravery’ of the victim and also thanked the local resident who provided the anonymous tip-off, which alerted the authorities to her plight.