A PROSTITUTION and human trafficking ring has been blown apart by police after a series of raids in Axarquia.

In a joint operation between the Policia Nacional, the Lithuanian authorities and Europol, properties were raided in Arenas and Velez Malaga.

The investigation started in January after Lithuanian police made the Spanish authorites aware of a potential human trafficking and sexual exploitation ring with links to Malaga province, but with roots in the Baltic country.

Police received a tip off that women from the former Soviet republic were forced into prostitution with the profits being sent to the Costa Tropical. 

Last Thursday the investigation came to a head when two Spanish properties were raided, as well as a further 36 in Lithuania, leading to the arrest of 15 Lithuanian nationals, including the apparent leaders of the organisation.

Along with the arrests, a total of €40,000 was seized, four vehicles, firearms and mobile phones.

Of the 15 arrests, 11 have been imprisoned, nine in Lithuania and the two leaders in Spain.

They have been charged with belonging to a criminal organisation, human trafficking, money laundering and the use of false documentation.

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