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Romanian sex trafficking trial opens in Gothenburg

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17:47 CET+01:00
On Wednesday the trial opened against six men suspected of operating a comprehensive human trafficking operation, bringing young women from Romania to Sweden to sell sex under deplorable conditions.

“They go down to the Rosenlund district and stay there all evening and night basically every day of the week. During the day, they sleep in an apartment and prepare for the next night. They have no life but are all completely governed by this activity,” said prosecutor Thomas Eliasson to news agency TT.

According to Eliasson, the trafficking ring is one of the largest of its kind ever uncovered in Sweden.

“These men have lured the women here to sell sex. It is exclusively a question of street prostitution,” said Eliasson to local paper Göteborgstidningen.

After bringing the women to Gothenburg the men pocketed the larger part of the women's earnings as prostitutes and held them under tight control over the telephone.

The women were allegedly made to “report in” to one of the six men they took orders from. They did not possess keys to the apartment they were living in.

According to Eliasson the women were forced to work under “disgusting and deplorable” conditions.

“The women have for several hours a night, regardless of weather and outside temperatures, been made to perform sexual favours, such as vaginal or oral intercourse, outside, in public urinals, in parking garages and in cars,” Eliasson said during the trial according to local paper Göteborgsposten.

During the proceedings he also recounted the story of one of the women who was promised a job within the elderly care sector but was raped by her first customer.

Another was six months pregnant when lured to Sweden. She was found by the police in a flat where sex purchases were taking place.

Eliasson is hoping that at least three or four of the eleven women will attend the trial. Most are back in Romania and one has a temporary residence permit for Sweden.

“It is usually hard to get them to testify. But during the preliminary investigation they have been cooperative and the women are important to make it clear how vulnerable they are and what deplorable conditions they have been living under,” said Eliasson to TT.

The six men have allegedly acted together and in agreement with several other people in Romania.

Per Ottosson of the Västra Götaland county police has previously told TT that it is not unlikely that more will be arrested.

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.

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