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'I wasn't allowed to cry on the street': prostitute

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'I wasn't allowed to cry on the street': prostitute
16:58 CET+01:00
A 24-year-old woman from Romania gave evidence on Tuesday as the case against the Gothenburg prostitution ring unfolded, explaining the horrors that she faced under the iron grip of her pimps.

“I was down, but was forced to pretend that I was happy and glad. I wasn't allowed to cry on the streets,” she said.

The woman has faced brutal treatment like being raped in front of her daughter, sold to different men, and constantly living “in debt” to her pimps, according to Göteborgs Posten newspaper (GP).

She gave her testimonial via a live video stream, fearing her life would be in danger from the six men in the prostitution ring, apprehended by police in February. The woman is currently under police protection in Sweden.

On top of this, the woman never received her share of the earnings and was forced to stay out until she had earned her quota for the night.

The woman was asked what made her go into prostitution in the first place, in Holland.

"Poverty," the woman answered, according to GP.

After several months in Holland, the woman was sold to a man for 1,500 Euros, but managed to escape and with the help of police, and ended up in Romania, pregnant.

There, she gave birth to a daughter, and in the fight to provide for her, took up prostitution in Bucharest again, often serving several men a night.

She was later sold to a man thought to be the head of the Gothenburg prostitution ring. After the man paid for her having an abortion, she was told that she was in his debt, a curse that has been over her since her arrival in Sweden.

“They said that if I want to have my freedom back then I must pay for it with the sum that I was bought for,” the woman told the court, according to the paper.

However, as the woman never received her cut of the income, she was never able to make back the “debt”.

The woman is said to have lived in an apartment with two other women, who taught her how to buy condoms, where to take customers, and how much to charge the buyers.

Although having sold sex before, the woman had never worked on the streets prior to coming to Sweden, and she told the court that shefell into a depression.

There was no lack of buyers either, and it is reported that on her first night on the streets of Gothenburg, the woman had seven to eight customers.

Even though she was still bleeding from the abortion two days earlier, she was forced by her pimp to work the streets. She was forced to use paper napkins to control the bleeding.

“If I earned between 3,000 to 4,000 kronor ($444 to $592) I was allowed to go home with 1,000. Otherwise I had to stay until 5am," she told the court.

The prosecutor, Thomas Eliasson, told GP that he thought his witness was doing well under the tough conditions.

“I think it's gone well so far. There is no new information she's giving, and she is sticking to her story,” he said.

The case is continuing throughout the week, and more of the women from the prostitution ring will give evidence.

The six charged men have allegedly sent over a million kronor ($152,600) to their relatives in Romania, money which was generated through the eleven women's sex sales on the streets of Gothenburg over the course of one year.

The ring was busted by police in February, and is considered to be the largest of its kind in Sweden.

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