Spain breaks up prostitution ring exploiting Venezuelan transsexuals

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Spain breaks up prostitution ring exploiting Venezuelan transsexuals

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MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish police have dismantled a prostitution network that exploited transsexuals recruited in fake “Miss Trans” competitions in Venezuela that promised winners the opportunity of a new life in Spain. Police said on Monday they had freed over 20 victims forced to live in “inhumane conditions” in overcrowded apartments in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca where they had to pay off debts through prostitution and drug dealing. The network lured transsexuals to Spain by offering to pay for their travel and accommodation, along with new breast implants, police said in a statement. The network’s leader promised them “great prosperity.” When the individuals arrived in Spain, the network confiscated travel documents and imposed a debt per person of 15,000 euros (13,617 pounds) for their return. They had to be available 24 hours a day to clients, police said. The operation led to the arrest of 14 people suspected of managing the network, which earned up to 1 million euros ($1.18 million) over five years, police said.

(Reporting by Emily Lupton; Editing by Angus Berwick and Alister Doyle)
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