A Thai-Finnish couple in their 60’s is suspected of running a prostitution-ring through Thai massage parlors in six locations around Finland since 2014.
The Helsinki police department’s national human trafficking team has wrapped up its investigation of the suspected prostitution scheme.
The suspected scheme took place in the cities of Joensuu, Kuopio, Mikkeli, Jyväskylä, Kokkola and Seinäjoki.
The suspects knew
The woman is suspected of subletting Thai massage shops on fixed-term leases ranging from a few weeks to a month. The renters were from Thailand and sold sex services on the premises.
“The suspects knew that the premises were being used for sex trade. We also suspect that they helped some of those involved to list their services on prostitution websites,” the head of the investigation said in a press release on Friday, May 12.
According to the detective dozens of women were engaged in the activity, moving from city to city. About 10 of them have been interviewed during the preliminary investigation.
Prostitution is not a crime in Finland but selling or buying sexual services in public places is illegal. So is buying sex from someone who has been trafficked or procured.
Turned to prostitution due to financial hardship
The preliminary investigation found no indications that the women were forced or deceived into sex work. Many of them had originally come to Finland because of marriage or relationships.
The woman turned to sex work when their financial situation deteriorated after these relationships broke up. They lacked education and language skills that would have helped them get other kinds of work.
“Such exclusion from society is quite common among Thai sex workers in Finland. The Interior Ministry published a report on their status in Finland 15 years ago. The situation has not improved much since then,” the detective said.