Eighteen people have been arrested in a large-scale investigation into an international human trafficking ring that saw Greek authorities working with colleagues from Spain, the USA, Europol and Interpol.
The ring is believed to have been smuggling people into Greece and Spain, mainly women from the Dominican Republic that they then forced into the sex trade.
Police on Friday were also able to free 20 people from the gang’s clutches, 14 of which were women.
According to a statement by the Greek Police, 16 of the suspects are being charged with direct involvement in the gang while the other two are facing related charges.
The arrests were made in Piraeus, Athens, Kavala, Corinth and other parts of Greece, while 19 more suspects in Greece and abroad are still under investigation.
The gang is believed to have been in operation since at least mid-2011, smuggling women and men from the impoverished state of the Dominican Republic mostly to Spain, via Greece and Turkey.
The women are believed to have been kept in detention-like conditions and forced into the sex trade, while the men were used for illegal labor.