Operation Joya-Aguyje: Police dismantle human trafficking ring exploiting victims for 24/7 prostitution

Ten arrested as six victims rescued from exploitative trafficking network

by Lorraine Williamson
human trafficking

BARCELONA – In a joint operation named Joya-Aguyje, the Guardia Civil, in collaboration with the Policía Nacional, has successfully dismantled a criminal organisation involved in human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The operation led to the liberation of six victims who were under the control of the criminal structure.

Human trafficking

A total of ten individuals have been arrested on charges including human trafficking for sexual exploitation, violations against the rights of foreign citizens, offenses related to prostitution, public health, moral integrity, and involvement in organised crime.

The criminal organisation targeted victims primarily from South American countries, particularly Paraguay, deceiving them and taking advantage of their vulnerable situations by promising improved living and working conditions. Some victims were also recruited within Spain using the same modus operandi.

The network covered all expenses and procedures necessary for the victims, both recruited abroad and within Spain, to end up in two brothel apartments controlled by the organisation – one in the town of Manresa and the other in Mollet del Vallés.

Victims available 24/7

Once under the physical control of the criminal network, victims had their mobile phones and passports confiscated. They were then informed that they had incurred an economic debt with the organisation, which had to be repaid through the provision of sexual services. The victims were required to be available 24/7, even if unwell, to engage in unprotected sexual activities, endure physical violence if requested by clients, and even to be recorded. The victims had no freedom of movement, with the criminal network maintaining strict control over them.

Cogesa Expats

Drug trafficking

The women were confined in the two brothel apartments, where they were crowded, lacking privacy, and living in inhumane and unsanitary conditions. One of the apartments was equipped with video surveillance cameras. Both locations were involved in drug trafficking, with victims forced to encourage clients to buy and consume cocaine, even if under duress.

The criminal organisation operated with a well-defined hierarchy, with a male and female sharing the leadership role. Other levels of the organisation followed instructions from the leadership, particularly emphasising the member responsible for recruiting victims, who utilised their knowledge as a travel agent to unwittingly bring them into national territory.


During the raids in Gavá, Manresa, and Mollet del Vallés, authorities seized over €13,000 in cash, 18 mobile phones, a computer, 300 grams of cocaine, a hydraulic press used in drug production, and numerous documents related to the exploitation of victims. Additionally, 11 bank accounts, three vehicles, and one property were frozen.


At the time of the rescue, the brothel apartments were closed, and the victims were provided assistance in total coordination and collaboration with the NGO “FUNDACIÓ APIC-ACAM” to address their individual needs.

Also read:

Police rescue 24 trafficking victims in Mallorca

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