Roma gangs in Sweden have lured Polish women there with promises of good jobs, then forced the older ones into being slave housekeepers and the younger ones into being prostitutes. Maryla, who is 50, answered an ad in her west-central Polish town seeking a housekeeper for a Polish family in Sweden, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. Maryla is not her real name, nor are the other names in this story real ? an effort to protect them. But their stories are real. The ad promised good money, Maryla said.?When I arrived, I learned that it was a Polish-speaking but Roma family,” she said. The first thing the family did, she said, was take her passport and other documents.A few days into her stay, she said, the mistreatment started. “From the fourth day of my stay I was beaten,? Maryla said. And ?they didn?t give me anything to eat.?Even the children abused me,” she said. “I don?t understand how they could teach children to do such things.”They warned her that she would never leave the place. But ?I had a mobile phone,” she said. ?I managed to type only ‘Help me’ ? and sent the message to my son.”She took her shoes from the front entrance hallway to the bathroom, telling the Roma she needed to clean them. “I put them on and ran,? she said.A ?nice woman? took her to a ferry, she said. “It was kind of a small miracle.” Ewelina, a 20-year-old from a city not far from Krakow, did not have so much luck. She was forced to work as a sex slave in Sweden. When police finally learned of her fate, she testified about her Roma abductors. But later, scared, she changed her testimony. So the Roma are free today.Ewelina told prosecutors gathering evidence against the Roma in Malmo, a town in south Sweden, that a celebration of a friend?s birthday in Poland started a tragic chain of events that led to her going to Sweden.?I was at my friend?s,? she said. ?We were celebrating his birthday. He had drunk too much. Then someone knocked on the window. It was Grzegorz C, nicknamed ?Babka.? He told Ewelina she should take a job in Sweden taking care of children in a Roma family. She said she didn?t have a passport. Then Babka called ?Czarny,? a Roma boss, Ewelina said. She said she and her friend got into a car with Babka and Czarny. During the ride, they pushed her friend out of the car. Then the Roma taped her mouth shut and covered her with a blanket, she said.They took her to a town in southern Poland about 200 kilometers from Krakow. Czarny took the passport from a Roma woman, then doctored the photo so it would look like Ewelina, she said.”We traveled to the port and took the ferry to Sweden. On the ferry I learned that my work would be sex. I wanted to go back, but Czarny said it was impossible.? He told her he would beat her unless she began doing what he said. The Roma held her against her will in a room. Czarny lined up men to have sex with her. The men paid him, she said. Her role was to “come across.” Czarny said he would pay her for her ?work? later.He also told her she would have to ?do it? the whole day because he needed money. She was too scared not to comply. She testified that she was not given contraceptives to use during her ordeal. “All the time Czarny was promising me that I could go back to Poland and I would get my money,” she testified. But instead he took her to a hotel in Norway.While men came to her room for sex, Czarny and other Roma would go out to shoplift in stores, she said.Czarny then “sold” her to other Roma men for 30,000 Swedish krona ? less than $4,500 ? plus a car, she said. “These people got an apartment for me, which I had to clean,? she said. ?Only they could unlock the door. I tried but I was unable to. I was living there and receiving clients.”One day a drunken customer became rowdy, and someone called police. When they arrived, they learned Ewelina?s fate. They asked her to testify against the Roma so the prosecutors could send them to prison.After she had given her story to prosecutors in Malmo, they sent Ewelina to Poland to give her story to prosecutors there. Even before Swedish authorities were able to arrest Czarny, however, Ewelina recanted her testimony. She traveled 600 kilometers to the Swedish Embassy in Warsaw to say that she was recanting. The testimony had only brought her and other people problems, she said. When police officials asked if she had been threatened into recanting, she said no. One of those talking with her then asked the reason she wanted to recant her testimony. She didn?t answer.”These people are totally intimidated,?? Gerard Pokruszynski, Poland?s general consul in Malmo, said of the Roma?s Polish victims. Malmo Police Chief Henrik Malmkvist said Roma gang leaders cast a long shadow in the Polish towns where the women are from. “They know their parents” and other relatives, Malmkist said. They can make life unpleasant for not only the women, but also those close to them.Knowing this, the “women are terrified,” Malmkvist said. Without Ewelina?s testimony, Swedish prosecutors had to drop their case against Czarny for lack of evidence.However, the Prosecutor’s Office in Oswiecim, 55 kilometers from Krakow, has found other women whom Babka and Czarny abducted and forced into sex slavery.They are gathering evidence now that they hope will put them behind bars.
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