Court sentences Bulgarians for forcing girls into prostitution

Amsterdam's red light district during the spring lockdown. Credit: Alex Nicholls-Lee
Amsterdam’s red light district during the spring lockdown. Credit: Alex Nicholls-Lee

A court in Amsterdam has sentenced two Bulgarian nationals to 4.5 years and 15 months in jail for trafficking young Bulgarian women and forcing them to work as a prostitute in Amsterdam’s red light district.

Bogomil K (32) and Nicolay P (34) employed ‘lover boy’ tactics to groom the girls, the judge said in his verdict, and went on to ‘manipulate and exploit’ them.

A tip off from Europol in 2015 led police to P and K, whose parents and brothers were also allegedly involved in exploiting young girls from villages around Sliven in Bulgaria, where many trafficked girls come from.

The police investigation found that K and P had forced four women into working for them in Amsterdam and the men were subsequently arrested. The sentences are lower than would have been expected because the case had taken six years to come to trial.

None of the women reported their traffickers but the judge said but witness statements, recorded conversations in K’s car and intercepted phone calls were enough evidence for the exploitation of two women by K.

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema wants to move much of the red light district to a  new ‘erotic centre’, partly in an effort to tackle exploitation and forced work within the sex industry.

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