Bolivian authorities dismantled a criminal network that sexually exploited minors in the city of El Alto detaining more than a dozen people, including two 16-year-old Peruvian teenagers who were presumed to be the ringleaders.
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The Department Prosecutor's Office of La Paz reported Tuesday that the arrests were made after operations led by the police and the Public Ministry on different housing units in the vicinity of Villa Dolores and October 12, one of the most dangerous nightlife areas of the city of El Alto, bordering La Paz.
After the operations, more than a dozen people were arrested, including two children under 16 years of age who, "through deceit and a friendly relationship with the victims," captured and exploited the girls, according to a memo from the Prosecutor's Office.
The suspects are under investigation for alleged human trafficking, corruption of children or adolescents, procuring prostitutes and criminal association.
In addition, the Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating another 16-year-old minor known by the alias of "La Peruana" (the Peruvian girl or woman), who is presumed to have trafficked four minors to Peru for the objective of sexually exploiting them, according to the statement.
Some of the young people held hostage by that network were reported as missing persons.
On Monday, the director of the Special Task Force for the Fight against Crime (FELCC) in El Alto, Douglas Uzquiano, told the media that the minors were kidnapped using social networks or by school contacts.
Authorities suspect that the main leader is the 16-year-old girl known as "La Perucha" (the Indian) according to Uzquiano.
This human trafficking network had "operational arms" to two 18-year-old women, who managed the criminal organization.
As a result of the operation, the Prosecutor's Office experts were able to identify two adolescents, aged 16 and 17, who were reported missing and who, after being interviewed, gave details of the sexual exploitation ring.