Police in Majorca and Asturias as well as charities coordinated efforts. | Policia Nacional

The National Police have arrested a couple in Palma and charged them with forcing a victim into prostitution, coercion, extortion and threats. The young woman concerned was led to believe that she was under the control of a criminal organisation based in eastern Europe.

The case, staggeringly enough, started in 2009. Over the years, so the police have assessed, the woman has suffered financial damage of some half a million euros in addition to having lost her home and becoming a drug addict.

The police and charitable organisations became aware of a woman practising prostitution in Asturias who had at one point lived in Majorca. Through coordination between police forces, it was established that in 2009 the young woman was living in Palma and had struck up a friendship with another woman. Shortly afterwards she became involved in some petty scams with which she personally had nothing to do. Nevertheless, she began to receive threats via Whatsapp from someone calling himself Vladimir, who was supposedly a member of an eastern European criminal gang. She was blackmailed in order to avoid being revealed to police and facing prosecution.

Her woman friend, whom she trusted, put her in touch with supposed lawyers, again through the messaging network. These lawyers advised her to pay while they were taking care of solving her problem. However, the demands just keep coming and also increasing. She had to take two jobs in order to make payments.

The young woman decided to leave and returned to Asturias. She thought that the extortionists wouldn't locate her, but they did. The demands became so great that they targeted all her savings as well as those of an aunt and her grandparents - more than 100,000 euros.

Unable to now pay her mortgage, she lost her apartment. This was in early 2013. With serious threats being made against her as well as her family and friends, she was required to take up prostitution and induced into taking drugs so that the "work" would be more bearable.

She had now entered a circle of fear and threats in which she was constantly supervised and controlled. She was told that she had to comply with all demands made by clients, who needed to use condoms only if they wished to. She was also told to use cocaine. As a consequence, she was prostituting for up to twelve hours a day. Over one four-month period, not a single day passed when she did not engage in prostitution.

She was even forced into having an abortion, all the time still being threatened via Whatsapp messages and believing that she was under the control of the eastern European gang.

Behind all this was the woman she had befriended in Palma and her ex-partner, both of whom are now under arrest.