An investigation by the National Police has shut down a human trafficking network that brought young women from Nigeria to Spain, and forced them to work as prostitutes in Benidorm and Bilbao.

The pyramid-based gang was run by three women at the top, also of Nigerian nationality, who would arrange for the women to be brought into Spain where they would be forced to work more than 14 hours every day, regardless of the weather conditions or their own personal health.

The gang leaders would personally escort the women into Spain from places such as Italy, in order to ensure nothing went wrong and the victims were unable to escape.

Once in Spain, the women were housed in the gang´s premises in Bilbao, where they were instructed to apply for asylum. The victims were then accommodated in a public shelter, before being returned to a network of flats owned by the gang, where their working life would then begin as they were notified that the service would now cost them 45,000 euro, and the only way to pay back the debt was to work as prostitutes for the gang.

The officers raided five homes, three in Bilbao and two in Benidorm, seizing assets which included 20,000 euro in cash, and documents relating to the movement of the victims.

Nine people have been arrested so far, six of whom have been remanded in custody, and seven women were freed from their imprisoned lives.

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