PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Federal trial that pulled the curtain off of the seamy underground racket known as human trafficking has ended in convictions for two Ukranian brothers.
The jury has found Omelyan and Stepan Botsvynuk guilty on nearly all counts related to their racket in which they smugged Ukranian immigrants to the Philadelhpia area and forced them to work in bondage. (see related story)
Lead prosecutor Dan Valez says the brothers forced their victims to work long hours cleaning big box stores, used threats and violence to keep them in line and repeatedly raped two women. He says they’re all still trying to deal with the trauma.
“This has dramatically affected their psyches, their mentalities. This is not something that goes away from them. They will be dealing with this for the rest of their lives. As far as the male workers, they still live in fear. They live in fear of these defendants and the defendants associates and they’re always gonna be looking over their shoulders.”
As he was led out of the courtroom, Omelyan Botsvynyk shook his head, glared at Valez and cursed him in his native tongue. He faces up to life in prison. Brother Stepan is looking at 7-20 years.
Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio