Teen victim of forced prostitution gang in Brussels testifies
Thursday, 16 January 2020
Several gang members were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and prostitution of minors. Credit: Facebook
A 19-year-old girl came forward as one of the victims of a Brussels gang which was dismantled and arrested after police discovered they imprisoned and sexually exploited teenage and minor girls.
The teen said she fell victim to the gang three years ago, and that they beat her into agreeing to being with “between 10 and 15” men every night, and that she was also forced to take drugs.
The victim, who identified herself under the pseudonym Sanne for fear of retribution from her abusers, spoke of her experience with VTM, a day after police in Brussels said they had rescued a French minor from the “clutches” of a criminal gang who had imprisoned her in different locations in Brussels and sexually exploited her via an escort website.
Sanne said her ordeal started after she met someone through Facebook, with whom she said she held a friendly relationship for a number of weeks.
“Then he started giving expensive gifts and saying I had to pay it back,” Sanne said, adding that when she said she had no money to pay for them, her abuser told her: “Then you have to go to bed with people.”
The 19-year-old, whose place of residence or origin were not made public, said her perpetrators began to physically harm and abuse her, scaring her into agreeing.
“They hung me on a hook with cable ties, hit me on my ribs… my knees are also broken for life, I have scares because they tased me all over my body,” she told the outlet.
“I had to do between 10 to 15 customers per night, I also had to take a lot of drugs in order not to be able to submit a complaint,” she said. “They give you a lot of drugs, so that you don’t remember anything.”
Sanne told the outlet that she was arrested by police a number of times, but that she refused to cooperate with what she described as physically invasive procedures they employed.
“The first thing they say is ‘undress and lean forward’ — what do you want girls to do? Just allow that? When you had to do 20 costumers that night? It’s not possible,” she said.
Sanne said that, following the arrests, she was threatened to return to the gang, but that police finally took her from the group, who police announced had been dismantled.
Two Brussels rappers are reportedly among the seven suspected members of the gang, with authorities saying they could risk several years in prison if found guilty.