(photo credit: AP)
Police have revealed that they have arrested two Chinese citizens who allegedly smuggled women into Israel and ran a prostitution ring based in Ashdod.
The two - a man and a woman - had their remands extended Wednesday in the Ramle Magistrate's Court, and are expected to be indicted on prostitution-related charges in the near future.
The two lead suspects are suspected of pimping out female Chinese citizens, trafficking in women and using false documentation and fake identities both for themselves and the women they trafficked.
Both suspects lived in a house in Ashdod, and were nabbed by police late Tuesday night as they drove some of the prostitutes to a caravan site where clients were waiting.
Under questioning, the male suspect revealed that he has been in Israel for nine years, and investigators discovered that the passport he presented was fake. He lived with his partner in crime, who served as the madam for the women they employed.
According to investigators, the two suspects allegedly drove the women on a nightly basis to pre-arranged sites where clients awaited. At the end of the night, the suspects would drive the women back to their residence, where they were kept.
The roving prostitution ring allegedly travelled from moshav to moshav to offer its services to Chinese agricultural workers.
Police also arrested four prostitutes who refused to cooperate with investigators. Detectives emphasized that they believed most of the women had infiltrated into Israel through the porous Sinai border and resided illegally in Israel ever since.
The Israel Police has been trying to take a tougher stance against trafficking of women after Israel was cited in recent years as a hub of the illegal industry.
Less than two months ago, a major trafficking ring operating on the northern coast was uncovered and broken up.