Authorities arrested six Israelis and two Colombians who were part of a network that sexually exploited minors across Central and South America, the country’s Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release Monday, 10 Dec. 2018.
Le Figaro/AFP reported that two Israelis were captured in Bogotá, two in Santa Marta, one in Medellín and another one in Cartagena de Indias.
The probe shows that the criminal organization “sold tour packages to Medellin, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Bogotá which, far from promoting the cultural and historical attractions in these cities, offered innumerable sexual activities with minors”.
The supposed tour packages were promoted “exclusively” among Israel nationals, most of them businessmen and discharged army soldiers.
Upon arrival in Colombia, the “tourists” were taken to seaside hotels, hostels, farms or yachts to attend private electronic raves and other locations where “sexual slavery of minors, youngsters and women, and the consumption of liquor and drugs, were rampant,” said the government office.
Testimonies by the underage victims reveal they would receive up to 400 Colombian pesos ($0.06-$0.13) for “their ability to tolerate the harassment of Israeli tourists,” and that they were forced to join a WhatsApp group called “Purim”.
In the course of the investigations it was established that the leader of this procurement network is Israeli citizen Assi Ben-Mosh or Benyamin Mush, who allegedly “entered the country sporadically to supervise the illicit business and receive reports from his partners.”
The Prosecutor’s Office adds in its statement that “there is evidence of Mush’s movements to Central and South American countries where there could be sexual exploitation, human trafficking and drug dealing schemes similar to the one he established in Colombia”.
Detainees face charges related to aggravated murder, aggravated conspiracy, inducement to prostitution, pimping of minors, encouragement of child prostitution, sex tourism, money laundering and illicit enrichment.