The Slovak police have clamped down on a group dealing in ‘escort services’ after it was discovered that the girls were being forced into prostitution. A total of ten men are being accused of human trafficking and of organised crime following the investigation.
The group set up the mediation agency ELI in Nitra in 2000, offering young Slovak ladies the chance to go abroad and work as hostesses, with them being shipped off to as far as Japan. Most often the girls were sent to Austria, Italy, Germany, France and the UK. The agency started doing so well that it opened additional offices in Prague and Bratislava.
The police say that at least 150 girls have fell into the trap of prostitution since the agency was set up, with most of them signing contracts without firstly realising what it was they were agreeing to. The gang then threatened the women with huge contractual penalties if they refused to fulfil their sexual obligations, and also blackmailed them with the publication of nude photographs that had been taken earlier.
What is surprising about the case is that the investigation has only now been completed, after being launched almost 7 years ago in 2004. Now the men could face up to fifteen years behind bars for their crimes.