PROSTITUTION

Brothel owner acquitted of human trafficking due to lack of evidence

Testimony against Moreno could not be corroborated, judge rules Six other members of allegedly criminal gang also absolved

José Moreno,owner of the macro-brothel in La Jonquera.
José Moreno,owner of the macro-brothel in La Jonquera.

The owner of Paradise, a massive brothel near La Jonquera, a town in Catalonia by the French border, was acquitted on Wednesday of organizing a criminal group which engaged in the trafficking of women from Brazil to work as prostitutes.

The court in Girona threw out the charges against José Moreno, who was facing 14 years in prison, due to a lack of evidence. The court also acquitted six other alleged members of the trafficking ring, but found one defendant, Rodrigo Rodrigues, guilty of violating the civil rights of some of the women. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Moreno was charged with recruiting Brazilian women between 2009 and 2010 in their country and bringing them to Spain so that they could work at two of his establishments, Edén and Eclipse. Edén was closed by local authorities some time ago.

Judge Javier Marca said that the only evidence against Moreno were testimonies provided by witnesses that could not be corroborated.

Prosecutors had said that Moreno brought in the girls “so he could get rich” by prostituting them. They alleged that he had flown them in on tourist visas, violating Spain’s immigration laws.

Besides a 14-year sentence, Moreno faced a 5,400-euro-fine and an 11-year ban from conducting business.

On the night of December 23, 2012, Catalan police were called in to defuse a car bomb that was left outside his Paradise brothel. The Mossos d'Esquadra regional police believed that this was a threat as part of an attempt to rob the establishment of its clients.

Prostitution exists in a legal limbo in Spain; it is tolerated but not regulated. Pimping is an offense.