AN anonymous e-mail to a Policia Nacional anti-human trafficking website has led to the bringing down of a major Murcia criminal gang.
Police have arrested 26 people in Murcia and a person in Toledo.
Nine of the group have been jailed including the two ringleaders of the illegal enterprise.
The Policia Nacional freed 19 South American women, mainly from Honduras and Paraguay.
Five property searches were carried out in the Murcia town of Fuente Alamo, which included a house used as a brothel.
The building even had a specially-created ‘den’ to hide the exploited women if police inspected the property.
The victims were forced to work as prostitutes or caregivers to pay off debts of up to €7,000 which were charged for their illegal passage to Spain.
The exploiters resorted to violence and general mistreatment to force the women to stay quiet about their circumstances.
Threats were also made that they would lose everything in their home country if they failed to pay what they owed.
Despite the intimidation, a whistle-blower sent an e-mail to the Policia Nacional that led to the gang’s arrest.
The criminals operated two branches of their operation.
A family originating from Paraguay was led by a woman who concentrated on sexually exploiting the new arrivals in Spain.
The second branch was run by a Honduran woman.
She saddled the victims with the €7,000 debt which they could pay off by becoming caregivers.
If the repayment plan was not followed, the Honduran passed on the debtors to her Paraguayan colleagues so that they would force them to work at their brothel.