Fifteen people in all were arrested on Tuesday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

The operation in Mallorca against human trafficking and sexual exploitation that was carried out on Tuesday points to the involvement of a major international network.

The investigation, which began in Palma several months ago, has uncovered branches of this network in various European countries, all dedicated to bringing women to Europe in order to be exploited - made to engage in prostitution. It is said to be one of the most important investigations ever launched in Mallorca.

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The National Police are understood to have been faced with great difficulties in conducting the investigation because of the secrecy of the Asian community and its reluctance to cooperate with the Spanish authorities. Members of the network and the women themselves are very afraid and do not want to testify against Chinese mafias. They seriously fear for their lives and those of relatives.

Fifteen people were arrested on Tuesday, some of whom have police records for similar offences.