Police: 19-year-old tourist forced into prostitution

Affair begins when young Ecuadorian woman lands at Ben Gurion, taxi driver brings her to two men in the Bursa area, instead of TA hotel.

Rape victim (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Rape victim
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
A 19-year-old Ecuadorian tourist who arrived in Israel last week to volunteer on a kibbutz was ensnared in a prostitution ring by opportunistic criminals, police announced on Wednesday.
The affair began when the young South American woman landed at Ben-Gurion Airport, where she underwent a prolonged drug search that left her tired and confused, according to Supt. Eduard Pliner, head of the Inquiry Branch of the Tel Aviv Police’s Central Unit.
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“She emerged from the airport in that state, not knowing a word of Hebrew. She entered a taxi and asked to be taken to her hotel,” Pliner told The Jerusalem Post.
But instead of taking her to the hotel, the driver headed for the Ramat Gan stock exchange area, an area rife with prostitution.
She was met by two suspects, a 39-year-old resident of Haifa and a 42-year-old resident of Hod Hasharon, who took her to a peep show and began talking to her about “good work” she could do “in the field.”
Intimidated and dazed, the woman was taken to a hotel, but was not allowed to sleep, Pliner said. The suspects told her, “We want you to begin prostitution,” he added.
For a week, men were brought to the young woman’s room and had sex with her. She was forced to hand over the money they paid her to the suspects, Pliner added.
Police then received what Pliner described as “partial intelligence” of what was taking place, and got involved.
Pliner, together with his deputy, Ch.-Insp. Slava Bass, launched an undercover investigation, which resulted in the men’s arrest.
“The police’s skillful handling of this situation enabled us to reach the suspects,” Pliner told the Post.
The taxi driver who initially brought the woman to Ramat Gan is expected to turn himself in shortly, he said.
“This woman was not acting. She was very scared. At first, she did not want to cooperate with us. But we used translators to explain to her that we were on her side, that we were here to help.
Eventually, she broke down crying and told us, ‘This is my opportunity to escape this nightmare,’” Pliner said.
“The suspects did not know about her arrival in advance, but they did take advantage of her innocence and vulnerability once they found her,” the detective said.
The woman has been moved to a safe place, police said.