Prostitution, trafficking and enslavement: eight arrests in Catania

Three Bulgarians and an Italian in prison, house arrest for another four Italians – Three Bulgarians and one Italian were taken to prison and another four Italians under house arrest. The crimes hypothesized, for various reasons, are human trafficking, enslavement, criminal association aimed at exploiting prostitution, aggravated by transnationality. Emil Milanov, 49, Milena Milanova, 31, Maria “Zina” Kozarova, 27, Massimo Corrado, 33, ended up in prison. Francesco Barbera, 40, Giuseppe Caruso, 35, Alessandro Santo Coco, 31, Elena Angelova, 33. A 73-year-old has been forced to stay in Catania.

One of the victims was a girl with a severe handicap – One of the girls involved is particularly vulnerable because she has a severe handicap. The young woman was tracked down by the mobile team in the home of the promoter of the association, Emil Milanov, 49, who is among the eight arrested. Heard by the magistrates of the DDA of Catania with the collaboration of an anti-trafficking body, the young woman was placed in a protected structure for victims of trafficking.

Dda: indescribable violence against her – The girl’s statements, says the Prosecutor’s Office, revealed “a dramatic picture”. According to reports from the DDA, the young victim “was mistreated by the entire association that took advantage of her extreme vulnerability due above all to the handicap”. The group “forced her not only to prostitute herself, but also to carry out domestic duties, cooking, waking her in some cases in the middle of the night and harassing her with indescribable physical and verbal violence”.

Operation Bokuk – The investigation of the “Bokuk” operation, a word that in Bulgarian language indicates garbage and a term that the suspects used to address the women under their control, were launched in June 2020 after the denunciation of two Bulgarians against a foreigner who demanded to pay her the so-called “joint”, the space they occupied in the street, near the Catania railway station, where they used to prostitute themselves.

The victims kept in poor hygienic conditions – The investigations of the policemen of the Foreign Crime and Prostitution section, coordinated by the pool of magistrates of the Dda of Catania, experts in these types of crimes, made it possible to ascertain that the victims, after recruitment, were housed in dilapidated houses in the San Cocimo district in poor hygienic conditions, deprived of all liberties and identity documents and fed with the bare necessities to make them survive: the girls were given little food and of little value.

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