MONTEVIDEO – Two Uruguayans and a Dominican were found guilty of “people trafficking” for purposes of sexual exploitation, Uruguayan judicial authorities confirmed on Sunday.
The identities of the criminals and the five Dominican women they brought into Uruguay and kept at a nightclub that also functioned as brothel were not released and the investigation is continuing to determine if more people were involved, the prosecutor in the case, Gilberto Rodriguez, said in public remarks to the online edition of the El Pais daily.
The case occurred in the city of Melo, the capital of Cerro Largo province, which borders on Brazil and is some 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) north of Montevideo, but due to its complexity it was handed over to the Organized Crime Court in the Uruguayan capital.
Melo police rescued the women, who were being held against their will at a nightspot where prostitution was practiced.
The Dominican women had arrived in Uruguay two weeks ago, apparently after being promised work as maids or with companies.
The crime of people trafficking includes “the recruitment, transport, transfer, sheltering or receipt of people for forced work or services, slavery or similar practices, servitude, sexual exploitation, the removal ... of organs or any other activity that diminishes human dignity” and it carries a term of 4 to 17 years in prison.
One of the Uruguayans was also charged with the crime of supplying drugs because cocaine was found inside the nightclub where the women were kept.
The women are being held by Uruguayan authorities while it is determined whether they will be returned to their country or remain in Uruguay.