Colombia Police said Monday they have dismantled three human trafficking rings, one that forced minors into prostitution along the border with Ecuador and two dedicated to trafficking women to China.
The ring allegedly used a Bogota travel company called Dream Travel to trick Medellin women into traveling to China where they were forced to work in the local sex industry. The organization allegedly made sure that the families of their victims’ received payments from the Asian country to avoid suspicion at home.
The second organization operated in several west Colombian cities where allegedly recruited women to work in China, promising them stable work conditions and high payments.
Following recruitment, victims were taken to Bogota where they would receive the necessary paperwork for travel to China.
However, after arrival in the Asian country, the traffickers took their victims’ passports and told them they had to pay back a $20,000 to $30,000 debt through sex work.
Five alleged human traffickers were arrested in this operation.
The third organization tricked underage girls into being taken to Florencia, the capital of the southern Caqueta province, promising to enter them in the “Chica Verano” (Summer Girl) beauty pageant in Tumaco, a port town in the southwestern Nariño province, Colombia’s National Police said in a press release.
According to the Police, the ring bought clothes and provided upkeep for the girls, who were later forced into sexual slavery at bars located in different municipalities along Colombia’s Pacific coast and in certain towns of Ecuador.
Seven alleged human traffickers were arrested in the operation.
According to the US State Department, Colombia is one of the world’s main origin countries for human trafficking. Women are commonly trafficked to work in foreign sex industries, while men, women and children are submitted to slavery.