Wednesday, 26 Mar, 2008 Offbeat
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Italian Circus of Horrors Tortured Girls with Piranhas

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Italian police has closed the 'circus of horrors' in which young Bulgarian girls were forced to swim in a pool full of piranhas for the fun of the guests.

Enrico Raffaele, a 57 year old man, his 33-year old son William and 25-year-old son-in-law Gaetano Belfiore, who ran the circus called "Marino" in Salerno province, Naples were arrested for the abuse of the youngsters. They were accused of the slavery of the Bulgarian family, parents and two daughters, 19 and 16 year old.

As some witnesses reported, the 19-year old girl was forced to swim in a pool with piranhas regularly and if she tried to escape somehow, they held her under water by force. Her 16-year old sister had to stay in a tank filled with tarantulas and snakes, while they were crawling on her body.

The family had to work for 15-20 hours a day, having been paid only 100 euros a week, while they were promised to be paid 480 euros a week. They had to live in a trailer, used for animals' transportation in awful conditions.

Investigation found that other immigrants from Eastern Europe had suffered form similar abuses in the circus, but they managed to escape. During the arrest all the documents, mobile phones and computers were confiscated. The Bulgarian family was transferred to the refugee center.

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