Burnley worker paid £4k to traffic ‘slave’ bride
4:36pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
A SHOP worker has told how he paid £4,000 to marry a ‘European girl’ who is now the focus of an international people trafficking trial.
Azam Khan, 34, feared being deported to his native Pakistan, where his life was said to be in a danger after his visa expired, Preston Crown Court was told.
Prosecutors allege the 23-year-old Slovakian girl he intended to marry had been drugged, brought to the UK and kept as a slave above a corner shop in Burnley.
Khan, of Brougham Street, Burnley, is accused of raping her three times and assaulting her twice, while she was kept prisoner at his aunty and uncle’s shop.
But Khan insisted after their first meeting in October 2012 the pair went upstairs and ‘she hugged and kissed me’.
He told jurors that he also bought her a necklace, and toiletries, and supplied her with beer and cider while she lived at the Khan Bros store.
Khan also said that he had approached a Manchester-based immigration advisory firm, after running into problems with the UK Border Agency, where he was told that he should ‘marry a European girl’ to secure a visa to remain in the country.
He was allegedly introduced to one of his co-defendants, Abdul Shinwary, through a cousin, who claimed that he had married in similar circumstances. Khan said: “Mr Shinwary said that if you give all the money in one go then it is £5,000 and if you give it to me later on then it is going to be £6,000.”
Shinwary, of Girlington Road, Bradford, who is also on trial for trafficking a person for exploitation, is said to have acted as a ‘go-between’ for Asians and Eastern Europeans to arrange sham marriages.
Khan’s aunty and uncle, Nusrat, 40, and Mashrafat Khan, 61, of Colne Road, Burnley, also deny trafficking charges and are accused of signing wedding documents at a bogus marriage ceremony, at the Brougham Street Mosque.
Kristina Makunova, 36, also from Bradford, has admitted charges of facilitating travel to the UK, and of false imprisonment.