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Ukrainian gets life for trafficking workers in US; prosecutor cites 'modern-day slavery'
PHILADELPHIA (AP) ¯¯¯ A Ukrainian convicted of smuggling desperate villagers to the United States to work in bondage has been sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years.
A prosecutor in Philadelphia says 52-year-old Omelyan Botsvynyuk's (OH'-mel-yahn bots-VIN'-yukz) human trafficking operation was "modern-day slavery."
A jury found Botsvynyuk and his brother forced crews to work long hours cleaning stores, homes and offices in Pennsylvania and other mid-Atlantic states for little or no pay. It found he used sexual and physical violence to intimidate workers.
His brother Stepan Botsvynyuk faces up to 20 years in prison for racketeering when he's sentenced Tuesday. He was acquitted of extortion.
The defense argued the workers testified only to get special visas set aside for trafficking victims and to avoid returning to Ukraine.