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Ukrainian family indicted on human trafficking

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Federal authorities have charged five members of a Ukrainian family with running a human trafficking ring in the Philadelphia area. The U.S. Attorney’s office says dozens of immigrant victims were beaten and forced into slavery.

According to the indictment, the Botsyvynyuk brothers turned human trafficking into a family affair. The five Ukrainian men would recruit young Ukraines to immigrate, promising legal entry into the United States. But once here, U-S Attorney Zane Memenger says their lives turned into a nightmare of slave labor, beatings and rape.

“These victims went through a daily life of hard work, little pay, sleeping in squalor, five to six people in a room with the reality that these brothers would inflict pain to make sure they would keep doing things the way the brothers wanted them to do.”

The victims worked at night cleaning stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. The Botsyvynyuk brothers imposed thousands of dollars worth of debt on the victims and threatened family members back home if they tried to escape.

Four of the five brothers are now in custody and face federal racketeering charges.

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