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Spanish authorities dismantle criminal group involved in sexual exploitation of Ukrainian women

Spanish police have arrested five individuals for allegedly trafficking and sexually exploiting Ukrainian and Belarusian women under the guise of offering refugee assistance.
group involved in the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation in Spain
The Spanish National Police in dismantling a criminal group involved in the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation. Credit: Europol
Spanish authorities dismantle criminal group involved in sexual exploitation of Ukrainian women

Spanish police dismantled a criminal group engaged in human trafficking for sexual exploitation of women, including from Ukraine and Belarus.

According to Europol, five individuals were arrested, among them Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian citizens.

The suspects allegedly lured Ukrainian women with promises of refugee visas, financial support, and employment.

“The criminal group, which had been operating since 2020, recruited its victims online, mainly through social media platforms, posing as managers of a staffing agency,” the law enforcement agency reported.

Authorities identified 14 victims in the operation. The group reportedly targeted women based on their nationality, bringing them to Spain on tourist visas. “The suspects promised the women legal employment in the entertainment and tourism industry,” Europol states.

Upon arrival in Spain, the women were instructed to apply for temporary protection related to the Russia-Ukraine war. However, instead of receiving work permits as promised, they were forced into prostitution.

The victims were housed in three properties provided by a nightclub manager.

“By isolating the victims from the rest of society, the human traffickers sought to minimize the risk of detection by the police or the women’s escape, allowing them to restrain, control, and fully exploit the victims,” the agency reported.

Law enforcement conducted five searches, seizing two vehicles, cash, electronic equipment, and documents related to the club where the victims were exploited.

Europol facilitated information exchange and provided the investigation’s ongoing analytical and technical support.

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