Police said Monday that they have broken up a trafficking ring in Moscow that forced women from the former Soviet republic of Moldova into sexual slavery.
Six Moldovan women were freed and one 45 year-old Moldovan man arrested as a result of the operation, the police said in a statement.
"After arriving in the Russian Federation, the group put the women in flats or houses in the Moscow region, took their documents and, with threats or beatings, forced them to work as prostitutes," the statement said.
Police said the women were recruited in Moldova, a small landlocked country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with the promise of jobs in Russian cafes and bars. Moldovans do not need visas to enter Russia.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with more than 25 percent of its population living below the poverty line, the World Bank said.