French police bust €4m Romanian sex tour prostitution ring

French police have closed down a €4m prostitution ring in which Romanian women were driven around the country and forced to have sex with up to 15 clients a day.

More than 30 arrests across France and Romania were made yesterday following a three-year investigation, Le Parisien reported.

The women were recruited in Romania before being taken on "sex tours" around French cities, making it difficult for police to track them.

French police said that each woman would earn around €8,000 per month and that the pimps in charge of the network earned as much as €4m over two years.

Prostitution is legal in France but pimping and soliciting for sex in public are illegal. France has an estimated 30,000 sex workers, with most coming from eastern Europe, Africa, China and South America, according to the interior ministry.

The women worked out of hotels in teams of six and were reportedly often threatened with violence. They were regularly moved around the country, with the pimps advertising their services online as masseuses passing through different French cities.

Police became aware of the sex tours after closing down another prostitution ring in Paris and discovering that one woman had recently stayed in multiple other French cities, including Rennes, Rouen and Nantes.

Three of the arrests were made in France, with people arrested in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Bordeaux, while 27 suspects were arrested in Romania.

The money raised from the ring was reportedly invested into real estate, nightclubs and luxury cars in Romania.

Romania is among 11 countries listed by the United Nations as the biggest centres of human trafficking. A 2008 report found that Romania was the top country of origin for migrant sex workers in Europe.

In March, the French senate rejected a bill passed by the French parliament's lower house which would have criminalised clients of prostitutes, rather than punishing the sex workers themselves for soliciting.