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49 women rescued from Colombian sex slavery ring, police say

By Ray Downs

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Police in Colombia rescued 49 women who were kept as sex slaves in the country's popular tourist city of Cartagena, authorities announced this past week.

The prosecutor General's Office said the women were promised offers of legal work but were sold into sex slavery to pay off debts, which were paid for by having sex with clients.

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Prosecutors said the women were kept in inadequate lodgings, given insufficient food and were threatened with violence if they tried to leave. The perpetrators, who are allegedly part of a criminal organization, also kept the women's documentation and passports. Twenty-three of the women were undocumented immigrants from Venezuela.

This was the third operation to crackdown on sex slavery in Cartagena during the past month.

In an earlier operation, 18 people were arrested and 43 warrants were issued for more arrests.

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