Thursday, January 20

Open season at New Monaco | Society

A group of National Police officers enter the New Monaco club in Orihuela, armed with several battering rams with which they are breaking down doors as they pass. On the chess floor court is the bar, where an agent rummages through bottles of Ballantines and Bacardi next to a cash register with two Barça stickers. There’s a pack of blond tobacco and a lighter on it, a happy birthday hat on a bottle, a roll of toilet paper, and a couple of plugs. Also a toiletry bag in which the agents find drugs. A dog walks through rooms full of personal and hygiene items looking for more illegal substances. At the back of the club, a fat man in shorts, a pink T-shirt and flip-flops raises his arms, exposing half his belly, while being searched by an agent. It is the early morning of November 19; Similar images have been seen at the El Álamo club and the Mediterranean club in Murcia, at the Copas and Chévere in Almería, at El Ciervo in Valencia, a club in which a deer is drawn on the façade with the sign: “The ban ”. In the records, the agents seized 90,000 euros, five luxury cars, three shotguns, two simulated pistols, 300 grams of cocaine and marijuana. The operation is called Monoikos, the Greek name for Monaco, the biggest club of the six. In the Mediterranean club, the agents find the leader of the gang (all six clubs are run by owners with family ties) and a woman in a miniskirt sitting on a chair, cross-legged, terrified. Hers is the story.


What happened that morning did not begin a year earlier, in October 2019, when the Central Unit for Illegal Immigration and Document Falsehood Networks (UCRIF) began to follow the suspects and accumulate evidence to carry out the macro-operation that ended with the detention of 20 people between 22 and 62 years old. It was long before, when several women (in this case, 14) were captured by the networks of trafficking and sexual exploitation. How? There are occasions in which criminal organizations look for vulnerable and needy women in foreign countries to be prostituted under certain conditions (the so-called corrupted consent due to precariousness) that, upon arrival in Spain, lead to sexual slavery; in others, the deception is complete from the start. Activist Bebi Fernández, writer of novels such as Memories of a savage (Planeta) and a criminologist expert in trafficking in women, received a message a few days ago from a follower of hers who told her that, after seeing a job offer in which a waitress was claimed, the phone number posted on Google also led to pages and prostitute claim forums.

“It was a mistake by the organization,” says Bebi Fernández, the pseudonym of a woman threatened by her complaints about trafficking and exploitation. “They use one number to offer jobs, another to offer prostitute services. In this case they used the same one and, by searching it in Google, the deception was discovered. But these errors do not usually occur ”. The girl from the Mediterranean club, or any of her 13 companions, or of the many tricked every year into being prostitutes, could end up locked up in a road club through many recruitment methods (one of them, that of lover boy, explained in the book Pornoxplotation by Mabel Lozano and Pablo J. Conellie). Also by the usual procedure that that follower of Fernández – “and others,” he clarifies – denounced through a private message on Instagram. “The ads placed on the networks offer jobs for which very young girls, waitress, receptionist, hostess… The personal interview is always done by a woman who is close, giving confidence, but with questions that are too incisive, too private. It’s about knowing if you have a lot of people around you, if you are very lonely in the city, if you are ultimately vulnerable, and where your parents work or live, in what country, in what city. Everything is aimed at knowing to what extent they can miss her, and how many, and to what extent and how they can threaten her. And if the conditions are met for them, once they put her in the club, she doesn’t come out. “


What happened at dawn on the 29th did not end with the bringing to justice of 20 people (nine of them have entered jail), accused of the crimes of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, against the right of workers, favoring irregular immigration, illegal possession of weapons, money laundering and membership in a criminal organization. The 14 women released on November 29 told the comprehensive association of trafficking victims, APRAMP, the conditions in which they lived in the clubs. They had to do continuous 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. If they tried to sleep, they had to pay a fine of between 60 and 200 euros. If they wanted to shower between client and client, they had to pay a fine of between 60 and 200 euros. If they fell ill and therefore did not work, they were fined between 300 and 400 euros. Some of the women (all between 21 and 31 years old, many had been exploited for years) accumulated a debt of more than 4,000 euros. In addition, they were forced to use drugs with their clients. All this, and despite the health crisis, without protective measures against covid-19.

“There were women who did not know the extent of the crisis outside, the point where the pandemic is. If there was confinement or not, if the hotel business was closed or not, if there was a vaccine or not. Nothing. Because they are isolated up to that point, ”says Rocío Mora, director of APRAMP. “Our first job in serving victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation is to convince them that they are victims. No more and no less, because they feel guilty. They have left their countries convinced by someone very close, by a connection that had great trust with them to embark them on the trip; they feel guilty for having been deceived, guilty for not sending money home, guilty for the possibility that they have to return to their country. ” The 14 women are in a place protected by the association directed by Mora, a group that, among its objectives, prioritizes the recovery of the lives of the victims outside the control and abuse of the exploiters. “When they leave they don’t even have an identity, no passport or real name.” Despite the fact that the clubs are in theory closed (the New Monaco had a sign announcing its closure with a message saying “this is stopped together #yomequedoencasa), the women recounted the procedure by which they continued to be exploited: back and hidden doors to that people enter, or home services arranged by telephone with the club. “In places where mobility was restricted and the prostitute did not want to take risks, they moved,” says Mora.

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