Police in Spain have rescued 13 women who were forced to take cocaine and work as prostitutes 24 hours a day, seven days a week in horrific conditions.
The women had been recruited in various countries and promised jobs in Spain, but instead, they were forced to take drugs and accept customers 24 hours a day in what police described as insalubrious conditions.
The Spanish Civil Guard arrested seven people suspected of human trafficking and drug trafficking in the province of Biscay, in the Basque Country, in northern Spain.
The Spanish Civil Guard released a statement on Tuesday, 14th March, saying that the raid took place last week.
The Spanish authorities said: “Seven people have been arrested and three searches have been carried out in the towns of Barakaldo, Bilbao and Fruiz in the province of Biscay.”
They added: “The criminal organisation confined its victims to a house in the neighbourhood of Zorrotza in Bilbao, where they lived in subhuman and unhealthy conditions and were forced to consume cocaine and accept clients 24 hours a day.”
The Spanish authorities explained that their investigation began after a witness came forward and told them about the human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The statement said: “The criminal organisation carried out the recruitment of women in South American countries, mainly Paraguay and Colombia, taking advantage of the situation of vulnerability, need and poverty that they had in their countries of origin, offering them promising living and working conditions.
“To transport the victims, they made several stops in different European countries until they reached their final destination in Bilbao. Once there, they were informed of their true employment status and forced into prostitution.”
The Spanish authorities said that the trafficked women were controlled daily by members of the organisation, who monitored their every move with CCTV.
They were also only allowed to leave the house for one hour every day.
The cops said that the women had to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that the criminals organised themed “parties” where the victims “had to agree to customer requests”.
The authorities said that the illegal operation had been ongoing since 2017 and had been operated by six women and one man. The victims are currently being cared for by an NGO, the cops said.
The police said that during the raids, they seized over EUR 35,000 (GBP 30,000) in cash, as well as an undisclosed amount of cocaine and cannabis. They also seized computer equipment, froze a number of bank accounts, and seized a number of vehicles and properties.
The suspects have been charged with a litany of crimes, including human trafficking, prostitution and sexual exploitation, money laundering, and belonging to a criminal organisation.
The investigation is ongoing.