Spanish Police Rescue 13 Women From Sexual Enslavement

Published: 15 March 2023

Sexual Exploitation SpainPolice rescued 13 victims of a human trafficking ring who were forced into prostitution 24 hours per day, seven days per week. (Photo: Guardia Civil, License)

By Henry Pope

Spanish authorities dismantled Tuesday a criminal ring that trafficked poverty-stricken women from Latin America to Europe, forcibly confined them indoors 23 hours per day, and prostituted them to whatever needs their clients demanded of them.

Seven human trafficking suspects were arrested; six of whom were women, including the group’s suspected leader. Police also managed to free the 13 victims found at the scene from captivity.

Civil Guard authorities reported that they tracked the group to a house in Bilbao, along Spain’s northern coast. Inside, the conspirators had sexually enslaved no less than 13 women and forced them to consume cocaine and accept clients 24 hours per day.

Other drugs found at the sex house were Viagra tablets, used to treat erectile dysfunction, and large quantities of Amoxicillin, an antibiotic medication used to treat urinary tract infections.

As part of a larger investigation, authorities learnt that the suspects would entice poverty-stricken women from Latin American countries, such as Paraguay and Colombia, with the prospect of a better life in Europe.

The women would be trafficked through several different European countries in order to circumvent detection, until they finally arrived in Bilbao. Only once they reached their final destination did they realize that they had been deceived and were now captives in a prostitution ring.

Conditions of their incarceration were described by police as subhuman.

Every aspect of the women’s lives was out of their control. Closed circuit television cameras monitored them around the clock and they would only be allowed an hour’s respite per day from their hellhole.

As enslaved prostitutes, they had no say in whatever sort of clientele approached them and had to acquiesce to their demands at any time of day, seven days per week.

Their captors also organized “themed parties” and provided masks for their paying customers; again, the women were forced to go along with whatever their clients demanded of them.

The criminal organization had been operating since at least the start of 2017 before police intervened, Civil Guard officials said.

Following their rescue, the women received aid from the Spanish NGO Fiet Gratia, which works to rehabilitate victims of sex slavery around the world and helps them reintegrate into society.