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CRIME

French police dismantle ‘sex tour’ prostitution ring in upmarket Paris districts

French police have dismantled an international prostitution ring which was operating a "sex tour" business in some of the most upmarket areas of Paris.

French police dismantle 'sex tour' prostitution ring in upmarket Paris districts
An apartment building in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. Photo: AFP
The international operation specializing in so-called “sex tours” saw prostitutes from Eastern Europe travel between capital cities to meet their clients.
 
The prostitutes from Ukraine and Russia would arrange appointments with clients in apartments located in the upmarket 8th and 16th arrondissements of the French capital. 
 
The pimps operating the ring owned a total of seven apartments where the BRP – the arm of the French police force dedicated to tackling crimes of pimping – discovered €20,000 euros in cash and several luxury watches.
 
Clients were charged between €50 and €200 depending on the quality of the apartment, earning around €1000 euros per day. 
 
Meanwhile the women took away €250 per hour, meeting with three to eight customers a day. 

 
The five accused of pimping the women were sent to a Paris court on Thursday to be indicted by an investigating judge.
 
These included a 30-year-old Egyptian, another was a 38-year-old Palestinian, while the other three came from the Philippines, Serbia and Cuba, according to Le Parisien
 
While selling sex is legal, soliciting sex or running a brothel has been illegal in France for decades, and paying for it was criminalized in spring 2016.
 
The ring assumed the cover of a medical tourism company to get away with its crime. 
 
The “sex tour” phenomenon, so-called because the women are constantly moved around, appeared in France in 2011 and has since grown in scale, according to reports in the French press.
 
French police estimate that there are around 20,000 involved in “sex tours” – twice as many as the figure they have for street prostitutes.
 
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Paris police dismantle Airbnb prostitution ring File photo of a Paris apartment: robertcrum/Depositphotos

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CRIME

French police break-up fake Bordeaux wine ring

Police investigating drug-trafficking in south west France have broken up a counterfeit Bordeaux wine ring following an eight-month investigation.

French police break-up fake Bordeaux wine ring

Prosecutors said that 100 gendarmes were involved in an operation to arrest up to 20 suspects in seven départements after the fake wine scam was discovered when fake wine labels were discovered by officers investigating a drugs ring. 

During searches, a dozen vehicles and, “a large volume of wine” were seized, they added.

They estimated that several hundred thousand bottles of Spanish wine had been passed off as being from the Médoc wine region of France.

Investigations involving a dedicated police unit revealed “a large-scale fraud organised by the owner of a vineyard in the Médoc”, police said, who obtained wine via “Spanish contacts”, bottled it at night and put fake labels on the bottles.

The fake wines were then sold “by the pallet” in several areas via “a network of official and unofficial distributors made up of companies, pensioners and self-employed people”, according to prosecutors. 

Orders amounting to several thousand bottles were sent abroad, with customers believing they were buying Bordeaux chateau wines at bargain prices, prosecutors said, when the bottles really contained “low-end wines …. from remote areas”.

Three suspects, including someone described as the ‘main instigator’ appeared before an examining magistrate on Wednesday and was charged with a variety of offences linked to fraud.

A source close to the case told AFP that the counterfeiting targeted mid-range Médoc wines, which are easier to counterfeit than the grand crus. 

“If the facts are proven, we hope that the perpetrators will be heavily condemned because these practices harm the image of Bordeaux wines and the image of all those who work well and respect the rules,” reacted the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine contacted by AFP.

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