Man convicted of trafficking women brought back to UK for prison term
A 40-year-old man convicted of trafficking women from the Czech Republic to work in the UK sex industry has been brought back to serve his sentence.
Vojtech Paloc was arrested in November last year in Liberec in the Czech Republic under a European Arrest Warrant after leaving the UK before he could stand trial on human trafficking charges.
He was jailed for nine-and-a-half years in December after being convicted in his absence of two counts of trafficking people into the UK for sexual exploitation, two counts of controlling prostitution for gain and one count of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law - relating to a sham marriage.
Officers from Avon and Somerset Police travelled to the Czech Republic on Friday to bring Paloc back to the UK under the terms of the European Arrest Warrant.
Detective Constable Haley Matthews said: "Paloc was one of three people convicted of appalling offences involving the exploitation of women who were trafficked and then forced into becoming sex workers in east Bristol.
"They were treated like commodities and one of the victims was told the only way she would be free would be to take part in a sham marriage. The control Paloc and his associates had over these women was frightening.
"When Paloc left the country before the trial could begin, we obtained a European Arrest Warrant.
"Working in close partnership with the National Crime Agency, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Czech authorities, Paloc was located in Liberec in late November and arrested."
Jiri Mizer, 33, of no fixed address, and Viera Sulcova, 39, of Blenheim Road in Gloucester, were also convicted of offences following the trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Mizer was found guilty of two counts of trafficking people into/within the UK for sexual exploitation, three counts of controlling prostitution for gain and one count of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law - relating to a sham marriage. He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years.
Sulcova was found guilty of three counts of trafficking people into/within the UK for sexual exploitation, three counts of controlling prostitution for gain and one count of conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law. She was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
Chief Inspector Mark Edgington, the force's lead for modern slavery and human trafficking, added: "Paloc thought he could flee the country and escape justice for the horrific crimes he committed, but he was wrong.
"I've been taken aback by the bravery of the victims in this case. We know human trafficking and modern slavery offences are hard to identify and even harder to prove, but this case proves that with hard work and immense dedication, it can be done.
"Our message to the public is clear. We know modern slavery is happening in our communities and we'd urge people to be our eyes and ears. If you have any suspicions, please tell us."