Brothel owners in Cape Town are alleged to have blackmailed clients by threatening to release video footage of their sexual escapades on social media.

An inquiry after five alleged brothel owners were arrested in February found that two of them — Shantel Bridger‚ 45‚ Juan Francois Warren‚ 39 — allegedly extorted about R3-million from clients.

“Follow-up investigations by the anti-human trafficking team of the Hawks have since uncovered that Bridger and Warren were allegedly influential in extorting money from clients who apparently used the services of sex workers attached to their establishments‚” Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha said on Wednesday.

“The pair allegedly pocketed almost R3-million between 2012 and 2015 from blackmailing clients by claiming to have recorded their sexual encounters‚ further threatening to post the said incidents on social media.”

The five suspects — arrested in a raid by the Hawks‚ crime intelligence and City of Cape Town law enforcement agencies — are expected to appear again in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on June 9.

They are facing charges related to illegal running of a brothel‚ extortion and possible additional charges in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.