Police in Spain, France, and Paraguay have arrested around 14 people, and have freed up to 15 women as part of a joint operation against sex trafficking.
Spanish police said they arrested nine people in the northern city of Pamplona on sex trafficking charges and liberated four exploited Paraguayan women.
They said the operation started after one of the victims dialled the Spanish help hotline against human trafficking back in 2015.
The raid was a joint effort with authorities in France and Paraguay, who also made arrests and freed women in simultaneous actions by police.
Among those detained in Pamplona were three of the alleged ringleaders of an international criminal organisation based in Ciudad del Este, near Paraguay’s border with Brazil and Argentina, police said.
They allegedly sought out victims and promised them jobs in France and Spain as masseuses, housekeepers, or in supermarkets.
Once the women reached their destinations they found their true task was to serve as prostitutes in the ring’s strip joints and bars, police said.
They were kept under vigilance by clan members and were told that they owed the criminal group up to €3,000 in travel fees.
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