Friday, January 9, 2009

4 Romanians charged with people trafficking

The Associated Press
Jan. 8, 2009

TIMISOARA, Romania - Four people have been charged with trafficking 100 Romanians to Ireland, finding them jobs, then extorting most of their wages, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The victims were recruited from poor families near the southwestern city of Timisoara from 2006 to 2008, and employed in low-paying jobs in eastern Ireland around the town of Enniscorthy, said anti-corruption prosecutor Tamas Schifbeck.

In Ireland, the victims mostly worked in agriculture and the construction business.

They were initially obliged to pay traffickers a fee of euros 2,500 ($3,400), then forced to pay 80 percent of their earnings to traffickers, said Schifbeck. If they didn't, they were beaten and their families threatened in Romania, he said.

Four other Romanians have been charged with aiding the people traffickers. If convicted, the eight suspects could be imprisoned for up to 15 years.

Irish police and Romanian intelligence helped with the case.

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