The international operation led by Europol was supported the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and the Service of Countering Organised Criminality Giurgiu of the Romanian Police (Poliția Română) in a hit against the organised crime group that had been involved in the sexual exploitation of Romanian nationals.
The suspects belonged to a family-based criminal group composed of Romanian nationals. They recruited the victims from Romania, luring them to Spain with the so-called ‘loverboy method’.
Once the victims reached Girona, the members of the criminal gang forced them into prostitution on the streets of the Spanish city.
The victims endured harsh living conditions, cold and hunger. Some of them were forced to prostitute themselves while pregnant and at high risk of being infected by COVID in the current pandemic.
To prove their ‘ownership’ over the victims, the criminal gang tattooed them. The suspects collected the money from the sexual exploitation and invested it in high-end vehicles, real estate, luxury goods and drugs.
The operation led to the raiding of 16 properties ( 2 in Spain and 14 in Rumania) and made 19 arrests.
In addition the authrorities confiscated a large number of high value items including stolen goods, jewellery valued at around €35 000.
During the raids in Rumania, officers found pornographic material including content depicting the sexual abuse of a minor.
A total ogf 18 victims ( 7 in Spain and 11 in Rumania) have been rescued from the gang and are under police protection.