Circus sisters rescued from snake and piranha acts | World news | guardian.co.uk
Two teenage Bulgarian sisters have been rescued from a circus in southern Italy where they were forced to swim with flesh-eating piranhas.
As part of the circus "entertainment", the elder sister, 19, swam in a transparent tank, while the 16-year-old was forced into a container where the circus staff tossed snakes at her.
Police who rescued her said she was injured by one of the snakes.
Three Italians who ran the circus in the Salerno region, have been charged with holding the Bulgarian girls in slavery and breaching international human rights conventions. The trio were named as Enrico Raffaele Ingrassia, 57, the owner, his son William Ingrassia, 33, and his son in law Gaetano Belfiore, 25.
The women were forced to work up to 20 hours a day, paid €100 a week and lived in a cockroach-infested trailer that had previously been used to transport animals, police said.
The Marino Circus has been offering shows at Petina, south of Naples, in a tent with 200 plastic seats inside it. Police have now closed down the circus.
The owner's daughter, who was not named, told police that a Bulgarian couple and their two daughters had been held as slaves since January.
A spectator tipped off the police after watching, Giusi, the elder girl, try to escape from the piranha tank as her head was allegedly held down.
Her sister Olga was bitten by snakes that she was forced to drape on her body, and she had injuries to her stomach where the snakes had wound themselves too tightly around her.
The owners had apparently treated her wounds but refused to let her see a doctor.
According to reports, Giusi had a tumour on her ear and was told to never submerge it in cold water. But the piranha tank was kept at almost freezing temperatures to make the fish lethargic.
The Bulgarian family have now been taken to "safe premises" and police said they were investigating "trafficking in humans" by organised criminals supplying circuses with cheap labour.
The girls' mother worked as a cook at the site while their father did manual labour on site. The mother had once tried to run away but had been captured and beaten, police said.
I saw the video of the girl in the piranha tank in the news and I couldn't believe it. How can people be so evil?
that is awful ,but it seems like they(or at least one of them) could of easly escaped and get help
^The article said that the mother did try to escape but she was captured and beaten. The girls were kept in an animal cage and even if one escaped, I'm guessing the others in the family would pay the price.
They would have to beat me to death before I would get in a tank with snakes.
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