A German man living in Austria is accused of forcing an underage Norwegian girl into prostitution. Apparently there are further victims. Charges have been laid and since August, there have been ongoing court proceedings.
If the shocking media reports are to be believed a serious offence has been committed in Austria that is otherwise the subject of crime movies. A German national living in Austria known as Marcel F. has been charged by prosecutors with sexually exploiting a 16 year old who suffers from mental illness. The accused apparently met the victim via a computer game in 2016.
THE SUSPECT EXPLOITED THE MENTAL INSTABILITY OF THIS YOUNG GIRL
At the time of meeting the girl was in psychiatric care. Following her discharge the accused visited her in Stavanger, Norway in 2017, according to records from prosecutors. Taking advantage of her fragile state the man seduced her and she ran away with him. She accompanied the man to Vienna and then later to Styria and Croatia where Marcel F. kept her as a prisoner in various Airbnbs that he rented along the way.
THE YOUNG WOMAN WAS FORCED INTO MANY SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS
Eventually, prosecutors claim, the Norwegian girl was forced by the defendant to sell her body – in hotels, cars and the apartments of several johns. According to media reports, she was subjected to between “30 and 60 sex meetings” in total. The defendant kept the money for her sexual services for himself. The girl received nothing.
THE NORWEGIAN GIRL SEEMS NOT TO BE THE ONLY VICTIM
If the girl tried to resist she was verbally and physically abused by her captor. He even threatened to kill her. After long months of imprisonment and forced prostitution, the girl finally managed to escape captivity in November 2018. A little later she was brought to Norway by her mother from Slovenia. After her escape, Marcel F. is said to have abused and exploited another young woman, a young Ukrainian who worked as an au pair in Bisamberg, Lower Austria, in a similar way.
THE ACCUSED IS CONTESTING ALL CHARGES
At the trial the accused and his lawyer Roland Friis pled not guilty and categorically denied the charges laid by the prosecution. The charges include Human trafficking, cross-border sex trafficking, repeated bodily violence and criminal coercion. According to the accused the Norwegian girl joined him of her own free will, she had “had a lot of problems”, which is why she “wanted to get away from home”. The defendant attributes the fact that the young woman filed a criminal complaint against him at the beginning of 2019 to her jealousy. She felt “neglected” because of another woman with whom he also had a liaison. Since her “sudden disappearance” she has been spreading “untruths” about him, according to the defendant.
THE VICTIM WILL GIVE EVIDENCE IN SEPTEMBER
The now 22 year old Norwegian has not yet given evidence at the trial and her residence was only able to be determined with the help of the EU justice body Eurojust. The victim is scheduled to give evidence at the next hearing on the 8th of September where she will be speaking via video-link. The other victim is also scheduled to give evidence.
THE DEFENCE SAYS: ALL CHARGES ARE BASELESS
Only the charge of fraud is not denied by the defendant. Among other things, he sold “expensive items” online that he ultimately did not ship to buyers. Marcel F. responds to this: “That is accurate and I plead guilty to this charge”. The allegations made by the young Norwegian, however, are false. Defense lawyer Friis that her allegations are” definitely not true”. His client did not use violence against her, nor did he force her to do anything. The presumption of innocence applies until a final judgment has been reached. We will continue to report on the progress of the process.