(Drammens Tidende): Tenant sublet an apartment at Bragernes in Drammen to two prostitutes. The tenant claims he did not know what the two were doing, but the two women did not hide what was going on when they explained themselves in court.
In May last year, residents of a housing association suspected that prostitution was taking place in one of the apartments that had been rented out via Airbnb. There was a lot of traffic of men to the apartment and suspicious noises.
– I was called down by neighbors in the housing association, says the owner of the apartment. He had rented the apartment for one week to a 32-year-old family man from Drammen, and was shocked when he realized what was going on in the apartment.
Both the owner and the board notified the police, and before the week was over they took action against the apartment. There, the police found condoms, lubricant, wet wipes and two Ukrainian women who admitted that they sold sex.
The women said that they had to pay 20,000 a week for the apartment to the family man, 8,500 more than the apartment was rented out for.
In Drøbak, they do not want to participate in this: – It is a nonsense
Renting out an apartment for prostitution is a criminal offence, and the 32-year-old tenant was charged with pimping. On Thursday, he appeared in the district court in Drammen.
The defendant admits that he rented the apartment, but claimed that he did not know that sex sales were taking place there. He explained that he wanted to help an Eastern European friend and her friends with a place to live.
– I wanted to help them. I myself have experienced war and received help in Norway, explained the defendant in court.
– You say you want to help, but a rental price of 20,000 for one week seems very highpointed out the prosecutor, police attorney Linda Robbestad.
– It wasn’t just payment for rent. It was also payment for other things I had posted for earlier, the defendant explained.
It is not the only case where the man has been suspected of hiring out for prostitution. The two prostitutes have explained that they have worked from several apartments, including in Sandvika and Lillestrøm.
Got a notification about a burglary in progress – turned out to be something else entirely
The women came to Norway after the war in Ukraine started last spring. Because of the war, they were broke, and traveled to Norway to earn money.
On the Telegram chat service, they came into contact with what they called operators who got them assignments in Norway. The women explained that they never met the operators directly, everything went online.
– Those who mediate are very anonymous. The only thing we have received from help is the address we are going to, said one woman.
When the women arrived in Norway, they were told to go to an address in Sandvika. There they were met by the defendant, the father of the family from Drammen, who housed them in an apartment he rented.
– It was obvious what kind of business it was, explained one woman in court.
The father of the family claims he didn’t understand what was going on either. According to him, he rented the apartment because he had problems at home and needed somewhere else to live for a period of time.
The women were in the apartment in Sandvika for a week before they were told to move on.
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In mid-May last year, the women were told to travel to an address in Drammen. Outside the apartment, they met the accused drinker again. He demanded that they pay the rent of NOK 20,000 in advance.
– We didn’t have enough cash. So we asked him to pay the next day. Then he got mad and took the key to the apartment. Then we couldn’t go out, because we had all our things there, said one woman.
The following morning they paid the full amount of 20,000 in cash.
– How do you think they got hold of 20,000 in cash, asked prosecutor Robbestad.
– I have no idea. I didn’t get into that, replied the defendant.
Robbestad pointed out that the defendant had been thrown out of another flat on Bragernes just before on suspicion of prostitution.
– Didn’t you think it could be prostitution, when you had been suspected just beforeprosecutor Robbestad asked.
In March, the defendant rented another flat in central Bragernes, but was evicted after a few weeks because the landlord suspected sex sales. The police investigated this case, but it was dropped because they could not get hold of the women.
The defendant also explains the rent of this apartment by saying that there were problems at home and that he needed another place to live.
– You rent apartments in Lillestrøm, Sandvika and Drammen. The impression is created that you have engaged in pimping. What do you think about itasks the defendant’s defense attorney John Arild Aasen.
– I didn’t do it, says the defendant and repeats that he only wanted to help.