Underage prostitution ring busted by newspaper

  • 2008-02-28
  • In cooperation with BNS

RIGA 's Follwing an undercover investigation by the Latvijas Avizenewspaper, police have arrested several people involved in offering underage teenagers for sex.

The daily says on Feb. 26 the Latvian Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (ONAP) in Riga held a group of young people acting as go-betweens in an online prostitution racket.

The procurers offered sex with a 16-year-old girl for 350 lats (498 euros), while a 14 year-old girl was offered for 500 lats (716 euros). Sex with a boy was pricier still at 700 lats (1,000 euros).

Advertisements for the sex services were placed on the homepage of a Russian-language internet portal. The advertisement included the names and telephone numbers of the go-betweens.

A journalist from Latvijas Avize decided to check if the offers were genuine and called Milena - one of the names mentioned in the advertisement. Milena explained in detail what services are offered and the prices of the services.

The journalist was offered a 16-year-old girl from Jelgava county. According to Milena, he would be allowed to do anything he wanted with the girl short of killing her.

When asked if any 12-14 year-old-girls were avilable, the woman replied in the negative but said that further negotation may be able to provide a solution.

When the journalist decided to opt for a 16 year-old girl, a meeting at a supermarket in Riga was agreed. The girl was brought by Milena and a man, most probably, the mediator.

Before the meeting the journalist went to national police, where he was instructed in detail what to do. In all eight police officers participated in the operation which arrested the suspects at the scene.

A criminal procedure was initiated for involvement of minors into prostitution. The punishment provided by the criminal law for these offenses is 8-12 years.