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By: Luis Gay
Edited by: Juliana Zhu, Esq.
Robertas Ciuzas, 33, and Rita Ramonaite, 26, were sent to jail on August 13, 2015 after a jury convicted them of human trafficking. The couple trafficked two vulnerable women into Britain and forced them to marry asylum seekers who desperately wanted a visa.
The couple targeted the Lithuanian women promising them well-paid jobs, but the victims discovered they were only being used as wives for complete strangers. The women were unable to escape as the couple had taken their passports and money. A third victim was found to be forced into prostitution by Ramonaite and Ciuzas in London. This victim was previously trafficked into Britain by another gang. She was told to charge £20-per-client and Ramonaite took all her money at the end of the shift. When the woman tried to refuse, Ramonaite held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. It is believed that there may have been more victims as text messages revealed that the trafficking duo sold women for £2,500 each (nearly $4,000 U.S. Dollars).
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Ramonaite, a mother of three, pleaded that she was forced to take part of a scam. However, she had even arranged her own sister to be a wife to a stranger. In addition, she stated that she was using some of the money to pay her third child out of an orphanage in Lithuania. Ciuzas’ lawyer claimed that his client played a minor role in the couple’s trafficking operation. The presiding Judge, John Price, said these women were trafficked on the premise of work and they became objects for the couple to use. The jury dismissed the couple’s defense and Ramonaite was sentenced for ten years in prison while Ciuzas was sentenced for six years, which will be added to a nine year sentence given in November for a violent assault against Ramonaite. Another defendant, Hussain Ali Rezaie, was jailed five years for buying one of the women to prevent deportation and will most likely be deported upon release.
If you or someone you know needs rescue from human trafficking, call the human trafficking hotline 1 (888) 373-7888.
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Luis Gay is a sophomore attending the University of San Francisco, pursuing a Biology degree and Biochemistry Minor. He is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.
Gutteridge, Nick. 13Aug2015. “Human trafficking gang sold women to immigrants desperate for a British visa”. Express. [Accessed 14 Aug 2014].