The Civil Guard dismantles an international network of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and frees 13 women

Operation coordinated by EUROPOL against Human Trafficking in several European countries

The dismantled organization would have captured and exploited more than 40 Romanian women in countries such as Portugal, Germany, France, Romania, Italy and Spain

20 people have been detained from different levels of the organization, such as the captors, transporters, exploiters and money launderers obtained by the criminal activity

The victims were exploited on the public highway in the town of La Junquera (Gerona). Several "traffickers" exploited their own women in days of up to 14 hours

The Civil Guard, in the framework of the operation "LORA", has dismantled in the provinces of Girona and Valencia, a criminal organization dedicated to the sexual exploitation of women of Romanian nationality.

In the operation, 13 victims who were being sexually exploited in conditions of extreme precariousness and 20 people were arrested, 18 in Spain, 1 in Romania and 1 in Portugal, taking place a total of 8 house searches.

Captured by your own family nucleus

The investigation began in February 2018, following the denunciation of a victim who informed the Civil Guard of the situation of slavery that she was living through forced prostitution, being exploited and controlled by different members of the organization.
This victim was caught in a situation of extreme vulnerability and forced to prostitute herself in different European countries such as France, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal and Spain. In the recruitment of the victim would have involved members of their own family.

Loverboy method

As the investigation progressed, it was possible to see how the different members of the criminal organization chart would have used the so-called Loverboy method, consisting of falling in love and promising a better life in Spain, hiding the real reason for the recruitment, which was none other than the sexual exploitation far from your home, in different European countries.
In the same way, it could be verified through operational activity and cooperation with Eurojust, that the case investigated was not isolated and that there were numerous victims captured by the same organization, using the same Loverboy method.
The women exploited in Spain were forced to practice prostitution in very precarious conditions, with more than 14 hours of work, wearing only underwear in the middle of winter and enduring very high temperatures during the summer. A large part of the victims' controllers were supposedly their romantic partners, who had no qualms about their partners maintaining relationships with other men.
In some cases, the exploiters came to control up to 7 women, who were forced to practice prostitution in streets controlled by their own organization.
In the course of the investigation, there were several cases in which there were disputes with other groups operating in the area for control of the territory and streets in which the victims were forced to prostitute themselves, resolving themselves in favor of the organization criminal now disarticulated, for its greater aggressiveness and use of violence.
The benefit obtained by the sexual services performed by the victims was sent to Romania, where the traffickers mainly invested in real estate.

International cooperation

Given the itinerant nature of several of the members of the investigated organization, international cooperation has been essential for the total dismantling of the organization, with different European Arrest and Release Orders issued, which have resulted in the arrest of two of the main members , in Romania and Portugal.
The one considered as leader of the Investigated Organization, who had fled to different countries in Europe, and on which a European Order of Detention and Surrender weighed, fruit of the important police pressure that had been exerted in Spain and several European countries, decided to surrender last week in a Juzgado de Figueras (Gerona), being decreed, immediately, his entry in provisional prison for the facts investigated.
Likewise, we counted on the collaboration of EUROPOL, which during the course of the investigation supported the investigative team and provided police intelligence.
Throughout the investigation, exchanges of police forces have taken place between several countries to provide mutual advice on the delicate treatment of victims.
In the exploitation phase, carried out simultaneously in Romania, Portugal and Spain, members of all the participating steps were arrested in the trafficking and exploitation of women, such as the recruitment or recruitment step, of the cell in charge of transport and responsible for the exploitation of women and the laundering of the benefits obtained from such sexual exploitation.
In the operation, which is not completed, numerous documents and annotations related to the sexual exploitation of women, cash, and 3 high-end vehicles that the organization had in their possession.
The operation, directed by the Court of Instruction no. 4 of Valencia, has been carried out by the Section of Human Trafficking of the Central Operative Unit (UCO) and the Commanders of the Civil Guard of Burgos, Girona and Valencia, with the collaboration of the Air Service, GRS, UTPJ , EUROPOL, Embassy of Spain in Romania and the NGO APIP ACAM.
Likewise, the joint work that has been and continues to be carried out with the police corps of Portugal, Romania, Germany and France has been fundamental.
For more information you can contact the UCO Press Office at 915031327.

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