Spanish police have smashed a human trafficking gang that made female recruits undergo breast implants before forcing them into prostitution and taking the cost of the operation out of their earnings.
Police said they have so far managed to rescue five women who were forced to undergo surgery before being sent to work in different cities in Europe.
Asked for details of where the women were forced to work, a police spokesman told Newsflash that the gang would send the women to different locations that will not be revealed while the investigation is ongoing.
However, the police confirmed that this not only included Spain but also Germany, as the husband of the suspected brothel madam is a German citizen.
The operation ended with the arrest of seven people on charges of human trafficking, illegal immigration, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
In an official statement obtained by Newsflash, the police confirmed that officers raided 10 houses and businesses, nine of them in the city of Caspe in the northern Spanish province of Zaragoza in the Aragon region where the alleged money laundering took place.
Weapons, drugs, anabolic steroids and over EUR 25,000 in cash were seized by the cops.
The investigation started in June of 2019 when a protected witness said that the gang had forced her into prostitution and that there were many other women in the same situation.
In October 2019, an investigation started after a pregnant teenage girl turned up at a local hospital having been violently attacked.
The investigation established that the 18-year-old victim was working in a brothel in Caspe and that most of the money she was earning was given to the madame who controlled every aspect of her life, according to reports.
A police spokesman confirmed to Newsflash that the gang would make the women undergo breast enlargement surgery before demanding the money back from their earnings.
Typically the women had debts of between EUR 10,000 and EUR 12,000 that they were told they had to pay back after being collected from the airport and driven to the brothel.
The madame and her husband, a German citizen living in Spain, allegedly threatened to hurt the women and their families if the debt went unpaid.
The money that the women earned was reportedly laundered through legitimate businesses like a pizza restaurant and a gym which police discovered were also fronts for drug dealing.
During the raids, weapons, ammunition, anabolic steroids, cocaine, cash, IT devices and documentation were seized and are being analysed by investigators.
The suspected gang leader, who lived in Caspe, had a private security force and kept a tight control over the gang’s criminal activities.
The investigation is ongoing and police have not ruled out that further arrests might still happen.