Jailed pimps have been known, upon release, to track down the girl who betrayed them. To be blond and 19 was to be in demand. It seemed like an awful lot, but the price went up. Six months on Via Salaria, a motorway just north of Rome, has sharpened her memory of walking with her boyfriend to the outskirts of Tirana, the Albanian capital, to meet a contact. Two years ago auctions were held only in the Balkans, says a Rome detective, but the need to rotate prostitutes around different cities to elude the police creates a market. Now she sells herself every night, but sometimes she hovers just beyond the streetlamp so that motorists may whizz by without noticing her. Shouting and shaking, she insists on being returned to her spot.
Summer. Age: 31.
Porous borders and lawlessness in former Yugoslavia and Albania have created ideal conditions, according to the United Nations.
Esmeralda. Age: 25.
Naked Slaves On Auction
Albanian gangs have taken over prostitution and rewritten the rules to make it an industry that is bigger, bolder and more brutal. They're usually resold after being on the streets for a certain time, and taken to a different area. Most prostitutes are volunteers fleeing poverty, the police say, though if arrested, the girls tend to claim that they were coerced.