Couple arrested in dismantlement of online prostitution network

Couple arrested in dismantlement of online prostitution network
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Brussels police have arrested a couple in their thirties and charged them with managing an exploitative and "hidden" prostitution network online, the Brussels prosecutor's office confirmed Thursday.

An investigation has been launched into an unidentified 39-year-old man and his 29-year-old wife. The couple is suspected of managing an exploitative prostitution ring through an escort website called Quartier Rouge.

The couple's arrest follows an investigation into the website after the domain was brought to the attention of authorities during a 2016 trial in which members of an "urban clan" were convicted for forcing young women to sign up on the website.

The website, which advertises as Belgium's leading provider of "private reception and escorts services," was in fact used as a front for illegal prostitution, the investigation concluded.

Authorities launched the investigation in 2018 after a woman from Moldavia who signed up to work as a hostess on the website lodged a complaint, accusing the couple of forcing her to prostitute herself by threatening to hurt her family.

The police agents who carried out the arrest found the couple in their vehicle together with two young women who were carrying sex toys, lubricant and condoms.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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