PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia -- Young Czech women anxious to earn hard currency abroad are being sold into white slavery in Yugoslavia, the Czechoslovak press agency CTK reported Friday.
CTK said the women are lured to work in restaurants, nightclubs and hotels in Yugoslav towns, with promises of salries of about $270, or close to three times the average Czechoslovak wage.
According to the CTK report, Yugoslavian 'entrepreneurs' working with Czech gangs visit hotels in Czechoslovakia's economically depressed heartlands, luring the young women with promises of fortunes to be made.
The Czechoslovak middlemen also earn up to $270 for each girl they ship to Yugoslavia.
CTK said the Lux Hotel in Banska Bystrica, Central Slovakia, was a major center for recruiting the women. The Hotel manager refused to take repeated phone calls. A hotel receptionist, who grudgingly admitted the practice existed, refused to give details.
Banska Bystrica police could not be reached for comment, and a spokesman for the Federal police in Prague said they were unaware of the traffic.
The traffic apparently began in the wake of Czechoslovakia's 'velvet revolution' which overthrew communist rule last November. Passports are now available for the asking, and growing fears of economic hard times at home have pushed many Czechoslovaks to venture abroad to earn hard currency.
White traders now act with relative impunity, as the national police force has been weakened by the weeding out of hardline Communists.
The women are kept as virtual slaves for 12 hours or more a day, reprted CTK. Their passports and identity papers are confiscated if they try to return home, and many end up turning to prostitution to make ends meet.
CTK said the racket came to light after the shooting death of an 18- year old Moravian woman in Vukovar, Croatia, which prompted a Yugoslav television documentary on the subject.
'Our girls are beautiful, that is known the world over, so they have a lot of clients,' CTK said.
The report added that Czechoslovakia's side into economic depression and its low standard of living mean Czech girls are 'criminally cheap.'
'Only Russian and Rumanian women are cheaper,' CTK reported.