The Attica Security human-trafficking department on Wednesday said it had bust a ring involved in the trafficking and brutal sexual exploitation of women. The ring's victims were women from Romania, who were beaten, raped, forced to take drugs and made to work as prostitutes.

In an operation in central Athens, police arrested five Romanian men and three Greek women on charges of participating in a criminal organisation, human-trafficking, abduction, rape, possession of narcotics and other offences.

Their activities were exposed by a young Romanian woman that managed to escape from their clutches and report them to the police.

A police investigation revealed that the group recruited young women from Romania, usually in dire financial straits, by promising them work as cleaners. When they arrived in Greece, however, they were locked into an apartment in the centre of Athens and mercilessly beaten, raped and forced to take drugs. Afterward, they were made to work as prostitutes in three brothels owned by a Greek national, who withheld all the money they made.

Police raided the apartment and found members of the organisation and their leader, who had arrived two days earlier. In collaboration with Romanian authorities, they are now looking for the members of the ring used to recruit girls in Romania.

Authorities found three women in the apartment during the raid and these, along with the girl that escaped and was already in police custody, are now staying at a hostel until procedures to have them declared victims of human trafficking are complete and they are able to return to their country.

In addition to the women, police found and confiscated a luxury vehicle, the sum of 3,800 euros and a small quantity of cocaine in the possession of those arrested, who were led before a public prosecutor on Wednesday.