Case 27

Ukrainian Invasion
Agenfor International (Vasileios FOUKAS and Vasileios ROUSSAKIS)
Assessed case number:
no number
Brief description of the case
Veronika is a Ukrainian undergraduate student in political sciences, with a very active profile on Instagram and Facebook, whose living conditions became difficult since the beginning of the war. She has saved some money for her own future but she thinks that there is no future for her in the country. Her parents receive a poor pension which isn’t enough for their mothly expenses. Bohdan is a 26 year old Ukrainian male, neighbor and friend of Veronika who was working in a local restaurant before the war. Currently he is unemployed and he tries to find some easy money without any success. Marko, a 28 year old Ukrainian, friend of Bohdan and follower of Veronica on Instagram and Facebook, lives in Kievo and owns a famous bar-restaurant. Marko is a member of a local criminal network, with transnational links and activities, that is involved in trafficking of Ukrainian females to Southeast Europe for sexual labouring. At last, Kostas is a 30 year old Greek male who lives in Athens and co-owner of some live strip show clubs. He is a member of a local criminal network, with transnational links and activities, that is also involved in trafficking of females coming from post-Soviet states to Greece for sexual labouring in local show clubs. His network has links with Marko’s network while he has personal contact with Marko through WhatsApp and Signal. Since Marko knows through Bohdan the situation of both Bohdan and Veronika, the war in Ukraine is a chance for him and his network to send Veronika to Southeast Europe exploiting the refugee routes exiting the country. After discussing Veronika’s case with Kostas, Marko approaches Bohdan and asks to bring him in contact with Veronika after convincing her about the proposal. He explains to him that he has some friends in Greece that could offer her an opportunity to find a work in the tourism sector and save some money until the end of the war. Due to her appearance, it will be easy for her to be hired at a well-paid job while at the beginning his Greek friends will offer her accommodation in an apartment with some other Ukrainian females. Veronika needs to pay 2000 US Dollars to an account in Western Union while Bohdan will receive a password in order to receive an amount of 300 US Dollars through Western Union too. Bohdan considers it is a chance to help Veronika and himself, as he will earn some money if he manages to convince her. He starts speaking to Veronika who understands this is the only way to escape from her misery. Nevertheless, she realises the risks of such a decision as Marko is an unknown person. A vehicle driven from one of the gang members with Veronika as passenger reaches the borders of Ukraine with Romania, where Veronika continues on foot together with other refugees to the Romanian side. A brief check from Romanian border officers takes only a few minutes and then a Romanian male named Alexandru receives Veronika. All communications take place via mobile phones through Telegram as Veronika had received the phone numbers through Bohdan. They reached Greece by car 2 days later and Kostas received Veronika and brought her to an apartment with 2 Ukrainian females also hosted there. Alexandru returned back to Romania. After a few days of excuses, Kostas announces to Veronika that it’s not easy to find a job for her and the only easy way to earn money is working in live strip show club that possesses with some friends. Kostas also explained to Veronika that in the case she were willing to offer and sex services to the club clients, she could save thousands of euros in a few months and be able to help her parents in Ukraine. Veronika has no other option and accepts the deal. Instead of doing a decent job in the tourism sector, Veronika is forced to work as a sex escort, since she is a lone refugee in an uknown country without having any money. Hellenic Police authorities, based on an anonymous information since 1 year ago from Veronika’s case and after a long lasting investigation and by using technical means, but also in cooperation with the police authorities of Romania, as well as EUROPOL and INTERPOL, are currently disrupting the above transnational criminal network. This cross-border police operation named “Ukrainian Invasion” coordinated by Hellenic Police authorities leads to the arrest of Kostas and some other members of his smuggling network while Alexandru and some more drivers are simultaneously arrested in Romania too. An international arrest warrant is now published through INTERPOL for Marko in Ukraine while Bohdan was not mentioned during the interrogation of Alexandru. Veronika was treated as victim of THB and was cared and assisted by Hellenic authorities and NGOs. She returned to Ukraine in a short period of time. All the arrested members in Greece are prosecuted and their sentence according to judicial sources is gonna be 10 years in jail.