Five men and two women have been arrested in a major investigation into forced prostitution involving at least 19 vulnerable women, police said on Tuesday.
The seven suspects, aged 29 to 38, are said to have recruited the women online from both the Netherlands and abroad. Some were in the Netherlands illegally, others had addiction problems or debts.
The main suspect is a 38-year-old man from Eindhoven, who, police said, led a luxury life without any legal income.
‘Human trafficking often involves fast money,’ police spokesman Ronald van Hedel told local broadcaster Omroep Brabant. ‘The cash is quickly turned into expensive clothing, watches and cars. We have seized a lot of this sort of thing during the investigation and completely emptied one property.’
The gang functioned as a criminal organisation with a clear division of roles, the police said. Some were responsible for taking the women to clients, while others organised safe houses and made appointments. Other suspects were charged with approaching the women, either online or in person.
The seven were arrested on February one and five other people have been questioned since then. The first pre-trial hearing will take place in May and the police have not ruled out further arrests.
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