A 20-year-old Romanian woman who was lured to the UK and forced to become a sex slave during 10 years of hell has spoken out for the first time.
Helena was living in poverty in Romania when people who knew her family told her she was pretty and could have a modeling career in the UK.
Bravely speaking out in The Daily Star on Sunday, Helena described her ordeal as a “living nightmare.” She said:
“I was promised a dream and ended up living a nightmare.
“Someone who knew our family told me I was pretty and could make it in the modelling world. He said there was no chance I could do it in Romania but that he could use his connections to get me a modelling contract in England. I was only 20 and I didn’t want to be struggling or to see my family struggle, so I jumped at the chance. I thought it was a chance to start a new life.”
She was flown to Britain, put up in a flat need to be paying €500 every week, and made to pose for sexy bikini and underwear photos.
Helena was told the images were for a portfolio. Later, Helena was told there was no work, and that she would need to pay a £3,000 bill, €1000 for her flights and €2000 for the portfolio. Meanwhile, her photos were secretly put on a prostitution site online, with a price list for sex acts. She said:
“I was taken to a flat where there were another three girls. I was told the rent would be 500 euros a week. They said don’t worry about the price because I would be getting lots of work and could pay for it that way.
“The second day they took me to a photo shoot and gave me a bikini and knickers and bra to wear. I was really nervous. I didn’t expect that at all.
“I went back to the guy and I told him that I wasn’t feeling comfortable. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to give you something that will make you feel much better’. He gave me a pill that he said would make me feel relaxed.
I was only 20 and I was scared and naive. I took it because I didn’t think anything bad was going to happen to me. I thought they were trying to help me.”
Helena was tricked into working in a pop-up brothel, warned that if she didn’t comply with them, her family would be killed. Every night, she would be made to have sex with strangers who would pay £120 an hour.
Any money she made was pocketed by the gang and she says she had no choice. She was also given cocaine every day until eventually, she became hooked. She said:
“They trapped me and I couldn’t get out. “My life in Romania was hard but that was nothing compared to what I’ve had to go through in the last 10 years. It’s been hell.”
Helena who is now 30, said she had a job as a massage therapist which would help her pay off her loan, with the ‘landlord’ who took her documents for not being able to pay her debts.
Helena was eventually saved when an English client with underworld links helped her, and her Romanian gang masters let her go last year.