Spanish National Police have rescued a 19-year-old woman after concluding an investigation into two Madrid prostitution rings operated by Romanian nationals. A pimp who'd been holding the woman captive tattooed a barcode on her wrist after she tried unsuccessfully to escape. According to the CNN report, the barcode is used by one of the rings as a way to denote ownership. The numbers beneath the barcode show how much money how much money the woman supposedly "owed" the ring.
The woman was discovered with multiple lesions and bruises from a beating she suffered as a result of her failed escape (her head and eyebrows had also been shaved). Police say that the ringleaders — an uncle and his nephew, both Romanian nationals who were arrested along with 20 other people — coerced underage girls into prostitution, while other members of the group collected rent money and controlled the rooms the women operated from. But in case you thought such a scenario couldn't possibly get any more horrifying, members of the ring effectively dehumanized the women they held hostage by referring to them as any number of barcode-able items such as "packages," "suitcases," or "bicycles."
Image via CNN