Two men in Utrecht are on trial for human trafficking, exploitation and the abuse of young men, including seven underaged boys. They are suspected of running an illegal brothel from their flat in Overvecht, reports NOS.
Investigations began in 2017 and 2018 when police were tipped off about what seemed to be illegal prostitution taking place at the apartments of Nicolaus L. (60) and Romeo A. (65), just a few miles apart from one another.
When police searched the flats, the suspicions were confirmed. Computers containing large files on hundreds of boys, including photos, information of their age, weight and private details, were discovered in the apartments.
Recruiting the minors
The boys and young men, who often had mental disabilities or came from broken families, were contacted by Romeo A. and Nico L. via WhatsApp or Bullchat. The two men would then have sex with the boys as trial dates. If the trial date was successful, then A. and L. would then arrange customers, payment, and website prostitution profiles for the boys on Boys4U.
Men between 45 and 75 years old would usually pay 150 for a date of two hours, 20% of which went to A. and L., reports RTV Utrecht. They also made videos of the boys.
“Trust in intercourse between adults”
Eleven of the young men have filed a report, seven of which were minors, and their statements will be used by the Public Prosecution Service in the lawsuit. However, the two men have denied recruiting boys for prostitution or exploitation.
According to Nico L. there were indeed men having dates at the apartment regularly, but he was not aware that any of them were underage. But L. did admit to having sex with some of the young men as trial dates.
Romeo A. claims that he was trying to help the young men, whom he says he did not know where minors. Riks Ozinga, who follows the case for RTV Utrecht, Tweeted that Romeo A. had said it was all about “trust in intercourse between adults” and that safety, health and taking precautions were paramount. Romeo A. says he wanted to guide the young men to becoming escorts in a safe manner, which is what they wanted.
Volgens Romeo/Hans A. hebben de vermeende slachtoffers zijn vertrouwen misbruikt tot valse aangiftes aan toe. Ging volgens hem om ‘vertrouwen in verkeer tussen volwassen personen.’ Veiligheid, gezondheid en nemen van voorzorgen stonden volgens hem voorop. #jongensprostitutie
— Riks Ozinga (@RiksOzinga1) November 24, 2020
Court rule in January
The trial will take place over the next three days, during which a psychological examination of Romeo A. will be revealed, compensations for the young men will be discussed, and the suspects will have their last chance to make a statement. However, with the holidays coming up, the court will only make a final ruling on January 14.
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