A monstrous sex-trafficking ring that operated on the Costa del Sol and forced its victims to get hooked on drugs and work every hour of the day and week has been busted.
Raids were carried out at two homes in Fuengirola that saw seven women rescued from forced sexual slavery and six people arrested.
A further two busts were carried out at premises in Madrid, where the criminal gang made their home and base of operations, with five arrested.
The extensive criminal network lured in vulnerable women from South America, spanning across borders and with the connivance of a Madrid-travel agency, as well as running a call centre and marketing teams.
Members of the gang would live in Madrid and travel down to the south coast to oversee the exploitation business and collect cash.
Through advertising on social networks, exploiting local contacts or direct from agents in Spain, they fooled their victims – mostly from Peru – with promises of jobs caring for the elderly or as nightclub hostesses.
The group had a team who took care of the preparations for bringing the victims over, processing their documentation and booking the flights.
Once on Spanish soil, they were picked up at the airport by the leaders of the organisation or their relatives, who transferred them to private residences in Madrid or Fuengirola by bus and then on to the dingy flats where they would learn of the fate that awaited them.
Here they would discover that they had been duped and exploited, and that now they were expected to work as prostitutes for the gang in order to pay off the debt that they had incurred in bringing them over.
The initial debt, they were told, would start at around €3,000, but a variety of tricks and scams would mean that it was a figure they would never pay off.
They were expected to be available to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they were not allowed to refuse anyone or any sexual service.
They were only ever permitted to leave the homes if they were visiting a customer – always supervised by gang members.
One method by which the gang kept the victims in permanent sexual slavery was to take 70% of the earnings for themselves, with only 30% going towards paying off the debt.
And if they ever did manage to pay down the entire debt, their freedom was never granted, as the gang would find a way to increase it again, so that their sexual exploitation was unending.
In order to keep the victims docile and amenable, the gang hooked them on drugs such as cocaine and 2CB, sometimes known as ‘tusi’ or pink cocaine, which has psychedelic effects on its users.
They also gave them pills to make them more aroused, meaning they were often in a perpetual stupor.
The victims were kept worse than animals in their prison homes; beaten, degraded and threatened with guns.
During the raids, police confiscated around €5,000 in cash, documentation related to the investigation, about ten mobile phones, a USB computer device, and various narcotic substances including two grams of pink cocaine or ‘tusi’, five grams of hashish, one of cocaine and marijuana.
Peruvian authorities worked in hand with Spanish police to investigate and arrest the brutal gang, who were arrested for human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, membership of a criminal organisation, crime against public health and one was arrested for possession of an illegal weapon.