The Spanish National Police force confirmed on Friday they had made 24 arrests and broken up a Nigerian-run prostitution ring, freeing 21 of their victims, one of whom was just 16 years old.
The arrests were carried out in nine provinces of Spain. According to police, the 21 women were thought to have been forced to work in Madrid and Castellon during the winter and then transported to Ibiza where they were made to work in one of the most exclusive parts of the island.
The police explained the women were ordered to work for over 14 hours a day and unless they returned with at least 1,000 euros (around 1,100 U.S. dollars) they had to kneel for hours and were beaten with sticks. The victims lived in a space of 30 square meters and shared beds just 90 cm wide.
The majority of these women came from poor areas of Nigeria and were tricked into coming to Spain on the false promise of job offers, but on arrival in Spain, following a journey which took them through Libya or Morocco and through refugee camps in Italy, they were forced to work as prostitutes. The majority of the money earned was then shipped to Nigeria.
The organization which exploited them was led by women.
As well as the arrests, one of which was made in Munich, police searched seven residences in Spain and Germany and blocked 20 bank accounts belonging to members of the organization.