2013-11-11 13:45:07

Police crack trafficking ring in Spain

(Vatican Radio) Spanish police uncovered a massive sex-trafficking ring that brought women to Europe from Nigeria to work as prostitutes.

In a statement, Spanish police said they detained 25 Nigerians who were "engaged in trafficking women for sexual exploitation" and involved in "Internet fraud and money laundering”. Eight were illegal immigrants. The arrests occurred in Madrid, Toledo, Cantabria and Palma de Mallorca.

Five women victims of sex slavery were freed during the crackdown on the underground operation. Police reportedly found a member of the gang performing an abortion on one of the five released victims.

The women, who were allegedly lured with the promise of good jobs in Europe, were first flown to Mexico or Brazil, traveling with false documents. From there, investigators said, they were flown to Paris and then smuggled into Spain to work in the sex trade.

The suspects allegedly laundered profits by buying luxury products that were shipped to Lagos, Nigeria. Police seized some 94 vehicles near Madrid and 26 loaded ones at Valencia port containing goods, with an estimated value of $6.7 million. Security forces used heavy machinery to open the vans, which contained items, such as expensive television sets and cases of premium liquor.

The gang was originally formed around 1990 at Nigerian universities and its activities also included sending "Nigerian letters" that tried to fraudulently extract money from recipients.

The operation followed wider concerns over human trafficking in Europe, where many Eastern European women are also trafficked in the sex trade.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos: RealAudioMP3

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