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Victims were allegedly subjected to tight control and totally abusive conditions. CNP

Police free 29 women held against their will in three Guadalhorce valley 'hostess clubs'

During raids on seven business premises and private addresses, National Police officers arrested 37 people for their alleged involvement in the sexual exploitation and trafficking ring

Tuesday, 26 March 2024, 09:35

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National Police officers have freed 29 women who fell into an alleged sex trafficking scheme and were forced to work against their will in three 'hostess clubs' in the Guadalhorce valley area of Malaga province.

The victims were subjected to strict control and totally abusive conditions, according to sources close to the investigation. Police arrested 37 people during the raids, with four of them remanded in custody.

The police operation started in March 2022, when officers became aware of a criminal network that was allegedly recruiting women with the aim of exploiting them for sex work. Most of them were young women of Latin American origin, although some were older ranging up to 50 years. The alleged gang offered them prostitution as a temporary way to earn money.

But the victims were barely able to leave the premises. Any departure could be penalised if it was not communicated beforehand, or if it was longer than an agreed time. The women were subject to rigorous fines and were unable to refuse to have sex with a man, as long as he wanted to pay them, according to police investigators.

The members of the alleged criminal organisation sought to isolate the victims. If they perceived the women were becoming friends with each other, they would quickly relocate them to another of the three brothels. The same happened if they found the women were starting to build a rapport with a regular client. In addition to sex work, they were also forced to sell MDMA and cocaine, according to investigators.

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Among the 37 people arrested are alleged managers, accounting and management staff of the three clubs, as well as a wide network of collaborators and consorts. In mid-January, police carried out seven searches in brothels and in the homes of the main investigated persons. These were carried out in Alhaurín de la Torre, Alhaurín el Grande, Coín, Pizarra and Malaga city. Police seized 261,670 euros in cash, 30 grams of MDMA, 15 grams of cocaine and 114 doses of sexual enhancers were seized.

Officers also seized five luxury vehicles and a wallet of cryptocurrencies worth 100,000 euros. Police also blocked bank accounts and properties of the suspects worth around two and half million euros. Part of this money came from the alleged criminal network which, according to investigators, was used to then commit fraud against public coffers, in some cases without paying the social security contributions of the workers in the brothels. It is suspected the debt owed to Social Security amounts to around one million euros.

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