A Nigerian woman suspected to be involved in the trafficking of women has been arrested in Middleton, Greater Manchester.

The woman is suspected to be involved in the procurement of women from Nigeria to Spain to be used as sex slaves.

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Believed to be a member of the ‘Eiye Confraternity’, a criminal network that spans Nigeria, Libya, Italy and Spain, her arrest led to the rescue of 39 women and girls who were living in Spain under inhumane conditions, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the victims, were mostly Nigerian and under 18. They were all held captive and ‘sexually exploited for the sole purpose of financial gain’.

A spokesman said: “She remains in custody awaiting extradition to Spain where she faces prosecution.”

“Investigators found the gang had numerous women under their control working as prostitutes to pay off their debts with Eiye Confraternity – upwards of 30,000 euros each – for the cost of moving the victims into Europe.

“NCA officers worked with partners to develop intelligence on the network, including carrying out surveillance on those suspected to be involved and working with Nigerian colleagues to build up information about the scale of the abuse and exploitation.”