POLICIA Nacional have rescued five women while dismantling a 15-strong human trafficking gang in the Murcia town of Cartagena

The criminals also smuggled drugs into the country, as well as women destined for a life in prostitution.

The five victims were holed up in a grotty basement of the duplex property that was used as a brothel, watched by the gang’s CCTV all day.

The young women held captive were physically, mentally and sexually abused throughout the entire time.

After being removed from their incarceration, they were quickly assessed and referred to the ‘Association for the Prevention, Reintegration and Care of Women.’

Agents also found 500g of ‘narcotic substances’, thousands of hallucinogenic pills, three guns and €12,000 cash.

Investigation started in December, when neighbours tipped off police about a possible human trafficking operation, which even carried on during lockdown.

All had been promised work as a waitress in their home country, with promises of regular income and a life in the sun.

The trafficking gang even had a sickening system of ‘fines’ to control girls if they were considered to be lacking enthusiasm for their ‘clients’.

A link between the operation at the property and a drugs supply operation in Cartagena was quickly established by agents.

Ultimately, a combined task force consisting of Cartagena Policia Local, Valencia Special Operational Security Group, the Murcia Prevention and Reaction Unit, Canine Guides and the Scientific Police.

The 15 arrested were detained for alleged crimes of Human Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, threats, crimes against workers’ rights, favouring illegal immigration, drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons, documentary falsehood and belonging to a criminal organisation.

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