Russian-speaking Estonian women are suspected of arranging for other Estonian women to travel to Finland to engage in prostitution. They organised their work, including drawing up shift lists.
The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) has uncovered an extensive pimping ring operating around Finland. Two Finnish men are suspected of hiring out dozens of flats to women from Estonia’s Russian population to use for prostitution. Three Estonian women are suspected of arranging for other Estonian women to engage in sex work in Finland.
”We have also looked into whether this group was backed by an umbrella organisation but there were no signs of mafia involvement, for instance,” NBI Inspector Paavo Tuominen said at a press conference in Tampere on Thursday. The probe has been carried out in Tampere, Lahti, Hämeenlinna, Jyväskylä, Turku, Joensuu, Kuopio, Seinäjoki and Varkaus. Six people were detained in Finland during the investigation. Two remain in custody. One person was detained in Estonia.
Pirkanmaa District Court is to begin considering the cases next week.
Work schedules and internet marketing
The suspects are a man from south-western Finland aged around 60 and a man in his late 40s from central Finland. Three Russian-speaking Estonian women are suspected of arranging for Estonian women to travel to Finland to engage in prostitution. They organised the work, including drawing up shift lists. These women range in age from around 30 to about 50.
Sexual services were marketed online through websites based in Spain and elsewhere.
No signs of human trafficking
Police have not found evidence of human trafficking. “We’ve checked carefully to see if any of the individuals were forced to come here or whether any of them were under 18, but so far no such characteristics have shown up,” Tuominen said.
Finnish law prohibits buying sex from victims of pimping or human trafficking, as well as from minors. The prostitutes had thousands of customers. Police have questioned some of them, but none have so far been charged with any crime.
The two men rented out a total of 33 apartments to the women between January 2011 and this past March. The men earned about 100 euros a day per flat. Altogether the criminal earnings from the venture totalled more than 300,000 euros.
The NBI set up a joint unit with Estonian police to investigate the ring. Wiretapping and other clandestine methods were used to crack the case.