The Anti-Trafficking Department of the Attica Office has begun dismantling a network of trafficking and sexual exploitation of foreign women from Latin America.
To expose the criminal organization on Saturday afternoon, December 2, 2023, with the assistance and participation of EUROPOL, representatives of the Spanish National Police, the US Homeland Security Service (US Embassy in Athens), as well as ΜΚΟ OUR GREECE and Α21, specialized in assistance and protection of victims of human trafficking, a large-scale operation was carried out.
During the operational actions, 6 members of the organization were arrested, including the leader. In addition, during inspections at 6 brothels in the center of Athens, 4 women were also arrested for offenses related to their activities.
A criminal case has been initiated against the detainees under the following articles: creation of a criminal organization, human trafficking, illegal operation of brothels (previously closed legally), as well as money laundering received from criminal activities.
According to Greek police, the investigation was carried out following the identification and rescue of a female victim of a criminal organization who was persuaded to come to Greece from Venezuela and, using psychological violence and the pretext of paying off an exorbitant debt, was forced into prostitution.
The police investigation revealed that the six arrested, together with at least three other people, formed a criminal organization with a role in the financial and sexual exploitation of foreign women. How they acted to achieve their goal:
- a member of the organization was engaged in “fishing on the Internet” and recruiting foreign women, who were mainly in a vulnerable social and economic situation,
- women were sent applications online and fraudulently, positioning the ad as offer of legal work with high earnings and very good living conditionspersuaded to come to Greece,
- candidates were asked to send photographs for “approval” of appearance by a leading member of the organization, as well as a photograph from a travel document (identity card),
- other members of the criminal group carried out work on the maintenance and operation of brothels, as well as the “recruitment” and supervision of foreign women. There was forced retention of “staff” and misappropriation of income,
- the leader subsequently legalized illegal proceeds through participation in investment companies and provision of placement services.
During the course of the investigations, cameras and recording devices were discovered and seized, as well as a number of documents and handwritten notes relating to the activities of brothels and the laundering of money obtained from criminal activities.
As noted ΕΛΑΣ, 10 women who suffered from the actions of pimps were provided with assistance and protection. Foreign women are housed in dormitories until repatriation is completed. Those arrested were taken to the prosecutor’s office. The investigation, in cooperation with Europol, is ongoing.