Five adults and 37 minors were rescued from a criminal gang that held them captive and forced them to work long hours for little pay, Guatemalan authorities said Thursday.
The victims were found packed into several homes in two neighborhoods on the southern fringe of Guatemala City, a police spokesman told reporters.
"Thirty-seven minors have been rescued, most of them indigenous women, as well as five adults. They were all being held against their will and, according to the investigations, they were victims of labor exploitation," the spokesman said.
Brothers Domingo Grave Montesinos and Pascual Montesinos Andres were arrested as the suspected leaders of the trafficking ring.
The captives were lured to the capital from indigenous communities in northern Guatemala with promises of good jobs, authorities said.
"They were forced to work more than 15 hours a day, from Monday to Sunday, in shops and other businesses" for a monthly wage of 600 quetzales ($75), a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said. EFE