POLICE have broken up a gang who specialised in trafficking Nigerian women into Spain as sex workers.
It is thought they had been operating their smuggling route for at least 10 years.
The women were either hidden in lorries or brought across the Straits of Gibraltar in fast boats.
From there they were moved to so-called safe houses before being passed onto groups operating brothels in the south of Spain, including Almeria and Torrevieja.
In a joint operation codenamed Odyssey, Spanish Police and Moroccan security agents targeted the criminals responsible for transporting the women from Nigeria to Morocco.
One of the gang was said to be so wealthy he passed through multiple border crossings unhindered while transporting both women and children.
The investigations began when a 16-year-old Nigerian girl was found in a children’s centre in Ceuta.
She began to give police details of how she was brought into Spanish territory.
When police investigations were completed, seven Nigerians, including two women, were arrested in Spain.
They are thought to be responsible for trafficking at least 39 women.
Each victim was treated harshly and punished with fines and beatings for the slightest infraction.
Police said the women were forced into sex work for at least 12 hours a day. They were made to eat and sleep together in unhygienic conditions and even forced to take on additional work as cleaners and cooks to bring in extra money.
While the Spain-based gang was being disrupted, Moroccan security agents swooped on a property in Tangiers where the women were detained before being smuggled into Spain.