Two Ukrainian brothers are on trial in Philadelphia, charged with luring desperate villagers to the United States and enslaving them on work crews.
Prosecutors say the victims were promised $500 a month, but instead were given little food or money for their 16-hour days cleaning stores and offices, according to an Associated Press report.
Lawyers for Omelyan and Stepan Botsvynyuk say the men simply tried to offer opportunity to unemployed friends and neighbors. They say the witnesses are cooperating with the government only to get “the golden ticket” – a T-visa that lets trafficking victims settle in the United States.
Jurors heard opening arguments in federal court Monday. The trial is expected to last more than a month.