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Prostitution ring involving some 500 women is smashed in Malaga with 25 arrests
Crime

Prostitution ring involving some 500 women is smashed in Malaga with 25 arrests

Most of the victims were Colombian and lured to the Costa del Sol from their home country under the false pretence they would have work in a beauty clinic

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 14:40

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National Police officers have dismantled one of the largest prostitution rings in Malaga which allegedly involved more than 500 women.

Gang members forced the victims to prostitute themselves in four brothels they ran throughout the city, and prohibited them from using condoms, according to National Police investigators. Most of the women were Colombian and were lured to the Costa del Sol from their home country under the false pretence they would have work in a beauty clinic. National Police officers have arrested 25 people for their alleged involvement in the crime ring.

The force started investigating after three reports were made on the 900 10 50 90 telephone number, one of the tools, together with the email trata@policia.es, set up to tackle human trafficking.

The criminal organisation was looking for women in a very precarious economic situation in Colombia to bring them to Spain by offering them jobs that didn't exist, according to investigators. They landed in Spain thinking they would work in a beauty clinic the organisation owned, according to what they were told. Once they were here, they were informed they had incurred a debt for the arrangements and expenses of the trip and that, in order to pay them off, they had no other option but to work as prostitutes.

Not allowed to use condoms

The sex workers had to be available 24 hours a day and had no option to refuse clients, according to the police. The women were also forced to work even if they were menstruating and were not allowed to use condoms, which reportedly resulted in several women contracting sexually transmitted diseases, according to investigators.

They were also allegedly permanently monitored via cameras installed in the brothels, which they could only leave for two hours a day after they sought prior authorisation.

The criminal network was also allegedly involved in distributing drugs in the brothels, and encouraged usage among clients, making services last longer and generating larger profits. In some cases, this resulted in some sex workers being injured.

Officers also detected the existence of a corporate network controlled by the main leaders of the criminal group which laundered the money. The brothels' annual profits exceeded one and a half million euros, according to investigators.

During seven searches carried out in Malaga city, 145,338 euros in cash was seized, as well as 1.2 kg of cocaine. The four brothels have been closed and 13 bank accounts blocked.

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