The 17-year-old girl, a native of Slovakia, grew up under impoverished circumstances before being thrown out by her father. Soon thereafter she met up with 26-year-old Karol Rafael, a member of the local mafia, who offered her a place to stay, the Expressen newspaper reports.
But Rafael’s offer came with strings attached, and soon the girl was being forced to sell sex at brothels in Germany in order to earn money for the mobsters.
After two weeks at the German brothel, the 17-year-old was then taken to Denmark to sell herself on the streets before then being brought to Sweden by 38-year-old Miroslav Horvath, according to Expressen.
Horvath and Rafael brought the girl to the home of 62-year-old Rolf Nilsson in Staffanstorp in southern Sweden.
Nilsson, who had previously been convicted in 2005 for operating a brothel, then sold the teenager for sex with a number of men.
He also drove the 17-year-old around to other houses in southern Sweden where paying customers were waiting to have sex with the girl.
The girl may not have escaped from the ordeal had she not happened to tell her story to a Slovak-speaker who turned out to be her last customer. Upon hearing that the teen was being forced to sell sex against her will, he promptly took her to the local police station.
When questioned by police, the 17-year-old explained that she was afraid to run away because she didn’t speak Swedish and had no connections in the country.
“Where would I have gone? I didn’t know anyone there. Nor could I make myself understood and without any money I couldn’t do anything,” she told police, according to the newspaper.
On Wednesday, the district court in Malmö convicted Rafael for human trafficking crimes, sentencing him to three and a half years in prison. In addition, Rafael will be deported at the conclusion of his sentence and will be barred from entering Sweden before 2020.
Horvath was also convicted of human trafficking, as well as assault and aggravated theft, and received a prison sentence of two years and nine months.
Brothel operator Nilsson, meanwhile, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for pimping.
“The ruling will in all likelihood be appealed,” Nilsson’s attorney Bo Gülich told Expressen.
In addition to convicting the three men responsible for forcing the 17-year-old to sell sex, the court also convicted three other men in the case, one for pimping, and two for purchasing sexual services from a minor.