Handľara (R., pl.). At the beginning of the twentieth century, a new profession
arose among the settled Servika Roma of eastern Slovakia: pig
trading. This profession became much more important after the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic, when
there was a great rush of economic ties between Slovakia and the Czech lands. Traders walked from region to
region, bought up pigs from the farmers and took them to Prešov. From there, agents of Czech firms took them
to Prague and other Czech cities.
Roma – or, more precisely, several families from the environs of Prešov - had, to a large extent, a monopoly on
the pig trade. Capital for the establishment of the business of pig trading came predominantly from Roma
workers in America who had emigrated with Slovaks at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth
centuries. In contrast with Slovaks, Roma often returned to their relatives.
Most of the pig traders got rich. Their material worth and status – as could be seen by their brick-walled
homes, trucks, etc. – exceeded that of Slovak villagers. Some families were also poultry merchants.
In southern Slovakia, Roma traded in fruits and vegetables: They bought melons, paprika, etc. from Hungarian
farmers and sold them in towns.
Horse trading was nearly exclusively the domain of Vlachi Roma.