One of the most appalling cases of sexual slavery ever uncovered in Spain is finally going to trial, with prosecutors demanding sentences of more than 400 years for the accused who lured women from Eastern Europe promising them a better life.
Hundreds of young girls were then enslaved in villages, towns and cities across the Costa and throughout the entire province for years, forced into prostitution while their captors pocketed the profits.
Now the provincial court of Almeria has put on trial 28 defendants of differing nationalities accusing them of masterminding a sophisticated human trafficking and prostitution ring centred around 13 local strip clubs.
At least 165 women were held in filthy, overcrowded conditions, crammed on to mattresses flung across the floor, with very little food and ample drugs, having been ensnared with promises of a job and new life in Spain.
They each had to pay up to €1,800 for the ‘privilege’ of staying at the accommodation and were entirely reliant on their captors, who seized their passports on arrival, leaving them as penniless illegal immigrants with nowhere else to turn.
Having arrived in Alicante on a tourist visa, the girls were shuttled down to Almeria, dispersed among different gang-controlled strip clubs and forced to satisfy local figures and businessmen, none of whom have yet been named.
The operation was discovered when one girl miraculously managed to get herself back to Russia where she secured protection and reported the atrocities taking place across Almeria.
Different managers of the clubs face prison sentences of 33 years if found guilty, while lower tier members of the gang will be handed terms ranging from one to 25 years. The provincial court now begins 20 intense sessions, with the final judgment due in the New Year.