Having won residence, woman reveals ordeal

Two men from northern Greece were indicted yesterday on charges of forcing into prostitution a young Romanian illegal immigrant three years ago. Fearing deportation, the woman only went to the police a few months ago, after she had secured legal residence papers. The 21-year-old had paid 700 euros to a gang that promised to smuggle her into the country – where her sister and brother-in-law work – and find her a job. Instead, after being led over the border in May 2001, she was sold by Ioannis Tsombanidis to Ioannis Tsoleridis, according to the indictment. Tsoleridis allegedly took her to a Thessaloniki apartment where she was raped and forced into prostitution. The woman only escaped after a client took pity on her and let her call her relatives on his mobile phone. Her brother-in-law was eventually able to spirit her away.