Monday, November 07, 2005

Brazilian police break international prostitution ring

November 3, 2005 12:00am
Source: Associated Press WorldStream

SAO PAULO, Brazil_Police arrested 15 people _ including six Italians _ accused of trafficking Brazilian women into prostitution in Europe, authorities said Wednesday.

The ring was based in the city of Natal, 2,450 kilometers (1,520 miles) northeast of Sao Paulo in the Rio Grande do Norte state, federal police officer Cleiton Teixeira said.

The arrests were made after a monthslong investigation by local police, the Interpol and authorities in Spain and Italy, Teixeira said.

The ring allegedly hired women from around Brazil to work in night clubs in Natal, then offered them to clients in Italy and Spain, police said.

Local media said members of the Italian mob were involved with the ring, but the information was not immediately confirmed by authorities.

Those arrested _ including two women _ were charged with trafficking women and forcing them into prostitution, and could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison if convicted. Most of them owned the night clubs where the women worked in Natal.

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