A Bulgarian man and six women, five of them Moldovan and one from Bulgaria, have been jailed after pleading guilty to a number of charges in connection with a brothel which was operating from an apartment in Triq il-Molletta in Swieqi.

It transpired that the man was taking care of the ‘administrative’ aspect of the business, while the women worked as prostitutes and shared the earnings together with him.

The defendants whose age varied between 19 and 48 were arraigned this morning before Magistrate Josette Demicoli.

The prosecution led by inspectors Joseph Busuttil and John Spiteri told the court that the arrests were made following an investigation over suspicions of human trafficking. However, it transpired that all of the women had willingly come to Malta to prostitute themselves, while the man had offered to ‘help’ them run the business. The court heard that there was no evidence whatsoever of abuse or human trafficking but purely a business to make "easy money".

“They said that the money earned during a single month in Malta would be enough to pay the bills for up to two years back in Moldova and Bulgaria,” the prosecution said.

The money earned during a single month in Malta would be enough to pay the bills for up to two years back in Moldova and Bulgaria

Vasil Damyanov Telbizov, 48 from Bulgaria, who used to ‘run’ the brothel and his partner, Mariana Buleico, 25, from Moldova, who was one of the six prostitutes involved in this illegal activity, were both arrested after being surprised by the police when walking in a street. Subsequently, the police raided the apartment and found €790 in cash, presumably earned from the prostitution activities.

From the investigations, it resulted that this illegal activity had been going one for about a year. The apartment was being rented by the man, his partner and one of the other prostitutes - Katia Andonova Kokinos, 44 from Bulgaria.

The man and his partner were both accused of living from the earnings of prostitution and were jailed one year and fined €200 each. Ms Kokinos who was also found in possession of a small amount of cocaine for personal use and who use to greet clients outside the apartment, was jailed for one year and fined €200. She was also fined €75 in connection with drug possession.

The others, Andriana Cojocari, 24, Nicoleta Padurean, 19, and Ana Mirna, 21, all from Moldova, were jailed nine months each and fined €200 each.

During proceedings it transpired that the most recent recruit, Doina Trinta, 23 from Moldova, had only been working there for less than three weeks. During interrogation, the woman said that she had come to Malta to finance her mother’s treatment who was sick, and save some money to be able to look after her five-year-old daughter. She was jailed six months and fined €200.

Lawyer Chris Chircop was legal aid.

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