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Parent-led child prostitution ring arrested in Bordeaux

Photo: Christophe Finot

Nine Bulgarians suspected of forcing their eight children to work as prostitutes on the streets of Bordeaux were arrested by French police during raids on squats and apartments in the southwest city on Tuesday.

Regional daily Sud-Ouest reported that the parent-led ring is the largest child prostitution network ever in France.

The suspects - five women and four men are all Bulgarian nationals and ethnic Roma. The children, boys aged between 12 and 16, have since been taken into custody and a special judge dealing with child protection will preside over the case.

“The children are not aware that they are victims, they are protecting their parents,” Bordeaux state prosecuter Agnès Auboin told the Sud-Ouest newspaper.

If found guilty three of the parents could face up to 15 years in prison for forcing children under 12 into prostitution as well as a three million euro fine. As the other parents’ children were aged 15 and 16 they face a lesser sentence of up to ten years and a 1.5 million euro fine.

The arrest comes following the result of an investigation into 20 boys being forced into prostitution in the city in December.

According to police commissioner Alexandre Desporte the “network was spreading” and many “clients from outside Bordeaux” were coming to area where the boys were sellling sex.