The vice invasion: Russian mafia eye UK riches

World of organised crime sweeps into Britain
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The Independent Online
EASTERN EUROPE

East European criminals, including Russian gangsters, believe the UK sex industry is ripe for takeover as no one is in overall control and there are big profits. The Russian mafia have already moved into vice in cities such as Amsterdam and Hamburg. There is evidence of setting up small brothels in flats in Soho, where Russian prostitutes are kept. It is feared they are about to expand. They usually operate by sending one of their representatives to an existing brothel, pimp or escort agency, and offer to provide prostitutes from the Eastern bloc. This continues until gangsters know how the system works. They then use extreme violence, including firearms, to threaten pimps and take over the operation. They are particularly interested in escort services and massage parlours because there is more money to be made in these areas and very little harassment from police, who are more concerned about street prostitutes and pimps. When police have arrested Russian prostitutes the women have repeated a prepared "script" claiming political asylum. Privately they admit they are too frightened to testify against their bosses.

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