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Spanish teenager who tried to flee prostitution marked with degrading 'barcode' tattoo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 25th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Prostitution is the degrading practice of a human being offering sexual services for money. Many young women and girls with no place to go around the world are often forced into prostitution in exchange for a place to stay and bread in the cupboard. Those who try to leave this way of life are often beaten down by their "pimps." The latest horrific example is the story of a Spanish teenager who was forced to have a barcode tattooed to her wrist.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Spanish National Police investigation into two Madrid prostitution rings led to the rescue of the captive 19-year-old woman with said tattoo after she tried to escape the ring.

The barcode served as a form of identity for the woman and as certificate of "ownership" by one prostitution ring. Underneath the bar code was tattooed the amount of money she owed the ring, police said.

Held hostage, the woman had multiple lesions from being beaten and whipped. Her head and eyebrows were also shaven on account of her escape attempt, police said.

Spanish police have since disbanded two prostitution rings along Madrid's Montera Street operated by two Romanian nationals, an uncle abetted by his nephew -- and authorities arrested a total of 22 people, including the two relatives, in Madrid and Getafe.

When the 19-year-old woman originally tried to escape, the uncle advised the nephew to tie the woman to a radiator and starve her, police said.

Among items seized by authorities were three illegal firearms, numerous swords and machetes, gold jewelry, five automobiles and $185,696 in Euros, more than half of which was hidden in a double roof of the home of one ring leader.

The rings forced women, including underage girls, into prostitution, and members of the rings collected the money and controlled the rented floors of buildings where the women were forced into prostitution.

The prostitution ring members referred to the women as "packages," "suitcases," or "bicycles," police said.

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