The report by APRAMP, an NGO that helps rescue prostituted women and then give them training and a new life, reflects how prostitution mafias have been changing their practices based on measures against COVID-19. In many cases, clients cannot go to the premises or flats, so that the women now have “higher debts” with their exploiters, who have “increased their daily rental fees”.
“The gangster groups are putting them in flats and making them make connections by ‘webcam’. Then, they extort them with those sexual images. Many women are alone, isolated, without being able to even talk to their relatives during the periods of confinement. doubled, and in some areas quadrupled, the floors dedicated to prostitution “, explains Rocío Mora, director of APRAMP.
Transferred from the city to the country
The report on covid and prostituted women of this entity adds that “victims of trafficking have been displaced from the center of cities to other municipalities, agricultural areas, farmhouses and between autonomous communities where the police presence is less.” The exploitation networks have transferred women to remote areas where “they continue to be exploited in the most absolute secrecy”.
“They do not know how to escape, where to go; before they went to hospitals, but now with the coronavirus they no longer dare,” says Mora. Some of these women walk to the APRAMP headquarters or the reception centers. The penultimate, a young Romanian woman, pregnant and with 22 infections of all kinds.
The NGO receives about 250 daily inquiries from women seeking help since the virus and the various confinements began. The director of APRAMP explains that, in addition, they are seeing that “some Spanish women who have been left without work due to the covid crisis are going to prostitution.” Since the pandemic began, they have registered an 11% increase in consultations and cases from Spanish women, according to their data. Until the arrival of the covid, prostituted Spanish women were 3% of the victims of trafficking.
Mora draws the profile of those Spanish women. “They are working-class women, they have lost their jobs, they are on the street, in a state of absolute need, and they offer them quick money to enter that world, the mafias want to capture them. They promise they will only have to take care of a flat , to control other women … “.
Despite this increase in Spanish women, the vast majority of victims of sexual exploitation are foreigners, from very poor countries or with serious economic and social crises. “We are seeing more and more women from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic,” emphasizes Mora. APRAMP data indicate that almost 80% of sexually exploited women in Spain come from those two countries plus Brazil, Paraguay and Colombia. On the other hand, prostituted African women, especially Nigerians, have disappeared with the arrival of the coronavirus and the confinements. “At least we are not seeing them, we believe that it is possible that they are being sexually exploited in transit areas or at the borders,” he explains.
They enter from Portugal
The entry route for women to be prostituted in Spain is also changing. “They are bringing more women by road, from Portugal, so they go unnoticed”, explains Rocío Mora.
The report reflects how the mafias that enslave these women try to make money even with the aid announced by the government for the victims, the minimum vital income. The NGO, one of the promoters of this aid for sexually exploited women, has detected “through the testimonies of women” that some mafia networks have processed “through call centers” the requests and documentation to collect the aid. The money, they warn, can end up in the hands of the same mafias that exploit women if the aid is not “properly monitored”.
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