File photo of a Paris apartment: robertcrum/Depositphotos
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.