Europe

Spain police bust 'black magic' prostitution ring in Murcia

Police seized of objects related to black magic and the ritual-filled Santeria religion Image copyright AFP / Spanish National Police
Image caption Police seized of objects related to black magic and the ritual-filled Santeria religion

Spanish police say they have rescued 15 transgender Brazilians from forced prostitution in the city of Murcia.

The victims were beaten, forced to use and sell drugs, and often kept locked inside a flat, officials say.

They are also said to have been threatened with the use of black magic if they did not comply.

Objects related to the ritual-filled SanterĂ­a religion were found in the flat. Thirteen suspects were detained for allegedly running the ring.

The authorities say the ring was headed by Brazilian who worked with associates to recruit vulnerable young people in Brazil.

The investigation began after one of the victims filed a report at a Murcia police station.

The victim said their entry into Spain had been arranged in exchange for a large debt, which they then had to pay back via sex work.

Four of the suspects have been detained, while the rest have been released on bail. The investigation continues.

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