Rescued from sex slavery – cbs news grade 6 electricity unit ontario


After dark, the 48 Hours team ventures into the older sectors of Bucharest, to see what money can buy. Within minutes, the crew finda what looks like the kind of pimping and prostitution you can see in any large city. But soon it learns that some of these girls are for sale as slaves.

A woman named Francesca claims to have girls all over Bucharest. Over a meal, our undercover team explains to Francisca that it wants to buy her girls, and bring them back to the United States. The team asks if the girls have the proper documents to cross the border.

But within minutes, negotiations hit a snag. Now, Nadia wants $2,000 for the sale. Why has the price doubled overnight? "Obviously, they understood that you are going to take her overseas," says Matei. "So she goes overseas, the price goes up $1,000."

Nadia says much of the money will support Nicoleta’s family. In the end, Van Sant offers $1,800, and the deal is settled. But even though the traffickers haven’t produced Nicoleta’s ID, 48 Hours wants to get her out of there. Nicoleta leaves with only the clothes on her back.

It’s now a very difficult decision for Van Sant, who is trying to decide whether he should tell Nicoleta that the 48 Hours team are undercover reporters. He’s concerned that Nicoleta might jump out of the car, think that he is lying to her, or believe that he is part of the authorities.

She says she eventually came to Bucharest, where she spent years living in the sewers and shantytowns with other young runaways. The traffickers found her by the side of a road. They promised her food and shelter. But they ended up making her bad world worse.

Jolene Smith, executive director of the Free the Slaves Foundation, says Rashkovsky’s come-on is a typical tactic for a slave trader. "And then the harsh reality sets in. There are threats. And that’s where the person realizes, ‘I’m trapped. And there is nothing I can do.’"

Olga got on the plane with four other Russian girls. In that instant, they became the personal property of an international slave trader. Olga’s plane, however, was headed to Mexico. Rashkovsky was planning to smuggle the women across the notoriously unsupervised border between Mexico and the United States. He brought the women to a hotel in Tijuana.

Girls like Olga are sometimes put to work in Mexican strip clubs before heading north. But Mexico is more than just a transit country and training ground for Eastern Europeans. In its own right, Mexico is the No. 1 country providing slaves to the United States, accounting for the majority of federal trafficking cases.

Rosaria recently escaped from a Tijuana brothel before she could be taken from the border. "They told me they will kill me. They even threatened me with hurting my family, if I tried to escape," she says. "They told me that I was going to work in the United States. They had girls working over there already."

Elsa claims that the people behind her daughter’s disappearance are allegedly members of an well-known family of slave traders called the Carretos. She alleges that members of the Carretos abducted her daughter on her way to work, and eventually brought her daughter to the United States.

"One of the key tools that modern day slaveholders today use is to break the person’s will as soon as possible," says Smith. "The sooner the will is broken, in many cases, it’s easier to transport that person. It’s easier to force that person to work."

On Calle Santo Tomas, you can find dozens of girls, day and night, parading in a slow circle. A crowd of clients stands around them, while a vendor sells snacks. The pimps overseeing matters are suspicious of outsiders, but 48 Hours got in with hidden cameras.

The girls bring their clients into a warehouse-like structure, and the sex takes place inside filthy curtained cubicles. Elsa says her daughter was helpless: "They threaten the girls. They say, ‘If you leave, I will kill your family. I will kill you and cut you to pieces."

Rashkovsky brought some men to the hotel and began putting his new slaves to work. Olga convinces them she is too sick to perform, but she now sees a horrible future ahead of her. "He [Rashkovsky] wouldn’t care at all," she says. "We could die, and he would probably step over us and keep walking."

The border crossing between Tijuana and California is the busiest land border in the world. Rashkovsky was behind the wheel, and Olga and another Russian woman were passengers on the road to becoming Rashkovsky’s newest sex slaves in America.

She began speaking in Russian, and says Rashkovsky was furious. But her gamble worked. Everyone was ordered out of the car by the border patrol, and detained. Rashkovsky was questioned on video, and tried to convince his interrogators that he had just met the girls in Tijuana.

But it didn’t work. "An older gentleman in the company of two young females who had heavy Russian accents, you know, just didn’t pass the litmus test," says Special Agent Mike Unzueta, who worked the Rashkovsky case for the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as "ICE."

"When we think of how trafficking victims are surviving within our own countries today, I can only imagine that it’s something like this," says Smith, who was shown the undercover tape. "What’s interesting to note about this particular case is that it seems to be happening in a middle-class residential area. This further proves the point that we all need to be vigilant. This could be happening next door."

And they are her only family. It has taken months for Matei to learn the true details of Nicoleta’s life, including her true age, 26. She believes that Nicoleta, homeless and mentally challenged, was picked up by traffickers and spent years as a sex slave.

48 Hours went back to the apartment where Nicoleta was held captive, to confront her former owners, Nadia and Costel, but they were nowhere to be found. The traffickers seemingly melted into the back alleys of Bucharest, as Nicoleta picks up the pieces of her shattered life.