Women freed from Marbella basement

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THE National Police force has broken up a human-trafficking group in Marbella and freed nine women who were kept locked up and forced to work as prostitutes.

Three Portuguese men have been arrested, the police force reported, and face charges of belonging to a criminal group, prostitution-related crimes and offences against workers’ rights. The leader of the group is also accused of violence and sexual abuse.

The women explained that they were recruited in their countries of origin over the internet with promises of steady, well-paid work. When they arrived in Spain they were attacked and sexually abused by the group leader before being locked in the basement of the Marbella property and forced into prostitution.

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The women were crammed into a basement bedroom with very little air and only allowed out when they were with a customer.

They were forced, the victims said, into paying off alleged debts for rent, laundry and advertising and given fines for misbehaviour, and if they dared to complain they were threatened with a fake gun.

Investigations began in June 2014 after two of the women tried to alert a passerby to what was going on, and a call to a police helpline last August eventually allowed officers to locate the Marbella property.

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