Six individuals were arraigned in Tel Aviv on Thursday for running a human trafficking ring that smuggled women from the former Soviet Union to Israel for prostitution. The defendants were also charged with pimping and subjecting the women to slavery by means of threats and extortion.
Two defendants, Christina Fiuso, 35, and Arthur Barons, 32, conspired in July 2017 to bring women to Israel and force them to be prostitutes, the indictment says. At a certain stage they were joined by Angela Gorgov, 25, and together they looked for suitable victims. They set up an office, which was run by Sami Adiban, 52, and Stanislav Gerdel, 51, under fake names such as Rio, Maxim, de Luxe and Top 10, who published ads on various internet sites of partially nude women.
The sixth defendant, Leonid Giler, 43, worked as the women’s driver and helped run the office.
The indictment says one of the prostitutes working for the ring was a relative of Fiuso’s, who had resided in Moldova. Fiuso and Barons bought her flight ticket, collected her from the airport in Israel and drove her to an apartment and “employed” her in their office. At first they took from her all the money she received from clients, and at a later stage about 60 percent of it.
The indictment recounts the stories of six women who were lured to Israel in similar circumstances from Ukraine, Russia and Moldova.
One of the women said the “office” operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the women were forced to provide sexual services for hours on end, mainly in apartments and hotel rooms in Tel Aviv and Bat Yam. The defendants demanded they have intercourse with clients even when they were menstruating, and to buy contraceptives at their own expense.
One of the women was ordered to dye her hair blond, to attract more clients.
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Fiuso and Gorgov denied the allegations when they were questioned by police, each claiming she herself had been employed as a prostitute for several months by Barons and Giler.
“The defendants conspired to make the women leave their home country to work as prostitutes in Israel, and carried out their plans,” the prosecution told Tel Aviv District Court. The prosecutor asked to keep the defendants in custody until the end of legal proceedings, for fear that if released they would continue to carry out similar offenses.