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trafficking sting Spanish and Romanian police free 16 sex trafficking victims described by pimps as 'cash registers'

Spanish police said the gang controlled prostitution on the island of Tenerife which is generally popular with Irish holiday makers

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Spanish and Romanian police have freed 16 victims of sexual exploitation who were described by their pimps as “cash registers”.

Police freed the women as part of an operation targeting human trafficking which operated in Spain, Romania and the UK.

The gang forced the women to take drugs and engage in prostitution.

Nine suspected members of the trafficking gang have been arrested.

Spanish police said the gang controlled prostitution on the island of Tenerife which is generally popular with Irish holiday makers.

A Spanish National Police spokesperson said: “The victims, of Romanian nationality, were flown from Romania to Tenerife and once there they travelled in cars belonging to the members of the organization to the towns of Adeje and Arona.

"Likewise, and from Spain, they were regularly transferred to London (United Kingdom) by air. In all these places they were forced to practice prostitution in hostess clubs or in flats.

“The members of this criminal organization controlled their victims by forcing them to consume narcotic substances, especially cocaine, often provided by the pimps themselves, all with the aim of overriding their will and being more profitable for the business.

"Women were treated as sexual merchandise, considered the property of the leader and classified as cash registers. They suffered constant harassment, threats - both to them and their relatives - and physical attacks by their exploiters.”

Four victims were freed and three suspected gang members were arrested in Spain while 12 victims were freed and six suspected gang members were arrested in Romania.

Phones, documents and cash were seized along with luxury vehicles and property believed to have been bought with the proceeds of crime.

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