Women enrolled mainly in the mating ring from Craiova in southern Romania were locked up in apartment hotel studios or one-bedroom apartments.
Pairers lived on the same stretch of street and at least in the same block in the city of Craiova in southern Romania. They were a group of familiar men and partly also relatives who decided to concentrate their activities in Finland.
They first started leading a large mating ring in Helsinki in 2013 and spread to numerous other Finnish cities. It is suspected that this Romanian network of pimps operated in Finland until May this year.
Helsinki the police have recently completed the case preliminary investigation. Five men and one woman have been imprisoned in Finland on suspicion of human trafficking and aggravated mating. One man is imprisoned in Romania.
Bulk the women exploited by the mating ring were also from Craiova, some from the rest of Romania.
With more than 300,000 inhabitants, Craiova is located in a part of the country that has not benefited much from membership of the European Union. In the south and east, especially in rural areas, there is a shortage of food, even clean water. Violence and difficulties in accessing school are familiar to women who have grown up in poor conditions in Romania.
Dozens of women were recycled in a mating ring in Helsinki over seven years. They are not members of the most vulnerable mobile ethnic groups in Romania and familiar in Helsinki. According to police officers who investigated the case, the women belong to the majority population of Romania.
“They are not beggars by any means. We know they are from poor conditions, ”says the criminal constable Kenneth Eriksson Helsinki police.
“If they had had a job, they wouldn’t have come here. This is not a dream, ”he adds. In the preliminary investigation, Eriksson focused on finding out the situation of the victims.
The women recruited as prostitutes were under the age of 40, mostly the peers of suspected pimps. Some women have been a nip button adult. Some of them have known each other and also the men who pulled the ring.
But there were so many women in the end that the case was not investigated by the crime commissioner Jukka Larkio can say exhaustively what everyone knew.
Monetary and the compulsion to earn a living most apparently involved women in prostitution. Some of them have been in the ring for up to seven years and have toured other European cities as well.
“Even though we are a large population, there is still a lot of poverty in the countryside and that is why they are potential victims,” Larkio says.
There have been prostitutes from Romania in the past. However, there are now indications that Romanian pimps, in addition to their own backpacks, have forced independent Romanian prostitutes to power in Helsinki.
The situation has been monitored by the Pro support point organization, which helps sex workers and victims of human trafficking in Finland. Its executive director Jaana Kauppinen says that in recent years the organization has come to ask for help from some women who have said they come from Romania. Some of them have also told about the activities of pimps.
“A compatriot has appeared behind the door to demand some of the money,” Kauppinen says.
“So after the women have organized their own income and managed their own workspace here.”
Pro support point searches for potential helpers by sending messages to online sex notices. They describe the support and services available from the organization. In situations like the ring that has now been revealed, it can easily happen that the messages do not reach women.
“In these cases, the messages will probably be read by the pimps that run the activity,” Kauppinen says.
Women harassed by pimps have been directed to seek help from the police. The pattern is also familiar to Eriksson, who has worked with prostitutes in his career.
“Quickly someone is behind the door and says‘ you need protection, ’” Eriksson confirms.
Because pimps want as many sex buyers as possible in their own ring, Romanian pimps are cooperating, according to Eriksson. So they are not arguing with each other, but they are also trying to take over independent women from Romania.
Romanian the prostitute is in many ways on the fringes of society. Externality is indicated, for example, by the fact that the researcher and the Deaconess Institute’s Development Manager had not heard of the mating ring that had been operating for years Anca Enache.
Enache is from Romania and works with Roma, ie the mobile population, who came to the capital from Romania and Bulgaria. He is in close contact with a partner organization in Romania.
According to Enache, Craiova will not become people belonging to ethnic minorities in Helsinki. According to data from a partner organization, the position of women in poor parts of the country is often weak. Criminal Commissioner Larkio also knows from previous cases involving Romanian prostitutes that there have been “women from extremely poor conditions” in Helsinki.
The structures of society are non-existent in poor areas. According to Enache, local authorities often do not take violence experienced by women seriously.
Schools usually do not have education on sexual health issues. Elementary school ends in 8th grade, and many girls do not have the opportunity to continue school because there is no money for books and other necessities. There are no schools in every village in the countryside, and there is no way to get around the city.
“Young girls drop out of school and have no prospects unless they have good parents,” Enache describes.
Own identifying, let alone demanding, rights has also been difficult for Romanian prostitutes who have ended up in Helsinki. Although the sale and purchase of sex is partly permitted in Finland, for example, part of the activity related to mating is illegal.
The situation creates conditions in which it has been easy to exploit women. In the ring, women are suspected of being victims of human trafficking, ie long-term and serious exploitation.
“Even if one’s own conditions deteriorate radically and are a victim of a serious crime, there is a long way to go to contact the police from a deep margin,” says Kauppinen.
According to Kauppinen, many victims may think that when they have left and agreed to sell sex, they are to blame for their situation. That “I just got bad luck now,” even though women are actually victims of crime.
Although Women in Romania’s mobile population are discriminated against and vulnerable in many ways, they have one security, according to Anca Enache. They are usually on the move with their family. Women recruited mainly from Craiova to the mating ring, on the other hand, were locked alone in apartment hotel studios or one-bedroom apartments.
They definitely had to have a wide bed. There was no real chance to leave because, for example, the pimp kept at least most of the money. Unless it was time to move to another locality or another country.
“The business is that you always have to get new faces online and in different places,” says Larkio.