French law enforcement officials announced on Sunday the dismantling of a large multinational human trafficking network, rescuing 41 women from numerous cities across the country.
The investigation began in May, when police from Montpellier detected similar advertisements for prostitution services on different web pages, all with contact numbers that were very close together. After discovering “several hundred interrelated advertisements throughout the French territory”, law enforcement officials wrote in a statement, the police began tracing the organization back to its base in the Dominican Republic.
The women, mostly from South American countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, were being transferred from city to city. The traffickers would move the women every three or four days, in order to prevent them from having a chance to settle down.
With an estimated annual income of 2 million euros, and the arrests of 9 people connected to the organization, the French judicial police have stopped the trafficking network. The 9 arrested, which include 1 person in Italy, 2 in Spain, 2 in the Dominican Republic, and 4 in France, are all suspected of having had a role in providing accommodation for the sex-workers.
The case now sits in the hands of the Central Office for the Suppression of Trafficking in Human Beings, and the five people arrested in Italy, Spain and the Dominican Republic must appear before the French judge in the near future.
French authorities have successfully disrupted the organized criminal network, putting an end to this illegal exploitation of women. Unfortunately, this is only a small victory, as the global problem persists, with human trafficking known to be the third largest illegal industry across the world.