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Police dismantle male prostitution ring in Spain

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • 14 people arrested in Spain for crimes related to sexual exploitation of men
  • 60 to 80 Brazilians are alleged to have been victimized
  • They were allegedly lied to about the work they would be doing

Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- National Police said Tuesday an investigation that began in February has resulted in the arrests of 14 people involved in an organization dedicated to the sexual exploitation of men, Spain's first such bust of its kind.

Eight of the arrests occurred in Palma de Mallorca, three in Leon, and one each in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.

According to police, the ringleaders picked up 60 to 80 men in Brazil and gave them each a travel bag and an airline ticket purchased with "cloned" credit cards.

The leader of the ring, based in Palma, sent the men to various brothels, gave them cocaine, poppers (alkyl nitrites that produce a rush when inhaled) and Viagra, and put them to work as male prostitutes, police said. To attract customers, the network published ads in newspapers and on websites displaying the Brazilians' photographs.

In most cases, the men were flown initially to the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, and moved from there to Spain, police said.

The men were lied to about the work they would be doing and the money they would be making, police said. Initially, they were told they would have to pay back only the cost of their air ticket, but instead, they were asked for amounts exceeding 4,000 euros ($5,066), police said.

Once in Spain, the Brazilians were given the telephone number for the leader of the organization, who sent them to different brothels, where they had to give the owner half of what they made in addition to daily expenses of up to 200 euros (about $250), police said.

If the men complained, the network resorted to threats, including the threat of death, police said.

In addition to being charged with crimes against the rights of foreign nationals, the rights of workers and conspiracy, the suspects are alleged to have provided drugs including cocaine and marijuana to clients as well as to the victims.

The investigation, initiated by the Immigration Networks and Falsified Documents Unit of the National Police of Granada, included similar units in the Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Alicante and Leon as well as Brazil's Interior Ministry.