Italian police say they have broken a prostitution ring which brought transgender people from Latin America into the country.

Arrests took place in three Italian regions – Lazio, Campania and Umbria.

The BBC reports that police said they arrested 28 suspected members of the prostitution ring, 24 of whom are already in prison.

Twelve properties which officers believe were to be used for prostitution have also been seized.

The group was made up of Italians and Brazilians who were recruited from shanty towns in Brazil and other Latin American states.

The individuals were sent airline tickets for flights from Rio de Janeiro to Madrid, Zurich, Paris, Budapest or Bucarest, from where they would be sent on to Italy, reports said.

Italy remains weak when it comes to LGBT rights.

At present, gender identity is not a part of official anti-discrimination legislation.

Same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are currently not recognised and same-sex couples do not have adoption rights.

The country’s first transgender MP was Vladimir Luxuria, who was elected in 2006 as a representative of the Communist Refoundation Party.