The victims, mostly poor and out-of-work men, were promised high-paying jobs in the U.S. and free room and board for joining the organization, which was run by brothers Omelyan, Stepan, Mykhaylo, Dmytro and Yaroslav Botsvynyuk.
The victims flew to Mexico on tourist visas and were coached there on how to enter the United States illegally. Many were snared by U.S. immigration and were held in detention for up to two months. On release, they were ordered to appear at immigration hearings. Then the brothers smuggled those victims to Philadelphia by bus or plane, according to the indictment.
In the city's Port Richmond neighborhood, the victims were stripped of their travel documents. The were told they owed the brothers $10,000 that had to be paid off before they were free to leave. Then they were put to work on cleaning crews in Target and Wal-Mart stores, office buildings and private homes, according to the indictment unsealed this morning.
To keep the victims working as their slaves, the Botsvynyuk brothers used threats and beatings. In once instance, a woman worker was raped on several occasions, according to the indictment.