Note: This article was translated from Flemish to English
The Brussels police have rescued a 16-year-old girl from the hands of a ruthless gang operating from our capital. The girl ran away from home at the end of last year and ‘sold’ to the gang members by her boyfriend. They locked her up, created a profile on a prostitution website and forced her to have sex with a whole series of men. For 150 euros per hour. According to the public prosecutor, seven suspects have been placed under an arrest warrant.
It was on the night of 4 to 5 January that officers from the Brussels-South zone were able to free the underage girl. She then stayed in a house in Uccle, where there was a cellar where she had to receive her ‘customers’. That’s what the newspapers from Sud Presse and Het Nieuwsblad write.
The court had tracked down the victim after an acquaintance had noticed her on the prostitution website and sounded the alarm. After the raid, the police mapped the gang and it turned out that they had worked relentlessly.
The victim was of French nationality and turned out to be at home in November after problems at school. Her own boyfriend would have ‘sold’ her to the people of Brussels for 2,000 euros. The gang would then have offered her on a prostitution website for 150 euros per hour. In the course of two weeks, she would have received more than 160 calls from “customers.”
The missing girl was not only abused in the house in Uccle, but also in a hotel in Ixelles. The police found two other victims, in Saint-Gilles. It appears that most of the seven suspects – young people in their twenties – also come from there. They have all been arrested, the public prosecutor reports today.
The seven are suspected of human trafficking and prostitution with minors. Some of them would be part of a gang that is known for hundreds of facts. This involves, among other things, setting fire to a police car and a rape.
“We can confirm that there has been a judicial investigation since the beginning of 2020 following the disappearance of a minor in France, who was forced to prostitute herself in Belgium,” says public prosecutor Willemien Baert. “The investigation led to the arrest of seven suspects, including the organizer of the prostitution of the underage girl. All suspects were placed under arrest warrant for exploiting the prostitution of a minor, with the circumstance that this was the main activity of an association, and for human trafficking. “
The first suspect was arrested on January 4, the second and third on January 5. The three appeared before the council chamber on January 8 and 10, which extended their pre-trial detention by one month. On January 11, the fourth, fifth and sixth suspects were placed under arrest warrant. They will appear before the council chamber on Wednesday. The seventh suspect, who was arrested on January 13, appears Friday.
According to the public prosecutor, several girls of French origin are among the victims, but it is not clear exactly how many victims are involved. They still have to be identified.