Ten Nigerians – five men and five women – have been arrested in Italy for allegedly running a prostitution ring.The suspected traffickers made upwards of 1.2 million euros (about $1.4 million).
Italian police have identified 20 victims of the cartel with offices in Nigeria, Libya, Italy and other European countries.
It was reported that they are currently being detained by the Italian police. Reports said four more people are on the run and are still being trailed by the authorities.
The gang allegedly used voodoo to manipulate the travellers and promised them jobs to lure migrants to Italy. The ‘ignorant’ and desperate economic immigrants are then later persuaded or coerced to work as sex workers.
The police in Catania, Sicily said the victims minors, paid as much as 25,000 euros ($28,000) each to travel from from Nigeria to Libya and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
The migrants take oath before leaving Nigerian which forces and enslaves them to the dictates of their handlers in Italy.
They take an oath of silence and also agreed not to flee and to pay back the cost of getting to Europe with agreed interests.
The women are not allowed to pay their “madams” or bosses in Italy directly but money was wired to either the recruiter or their families in Nigeria, who then paid off the local recruiters.
The suspects are facing possible charges of criminal association with the aim of trafficking, aiding and abetting illegal immigration and exploitation by prostitution.
Police disclosed that the transnational nature of the crime makes it knotty. The victims were psychologically threatened through the voodoo ritual
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said 20,000 Africans–a chunk of them Nigerians– have died in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to make the perilous trip from Libya to Europe, since 2014.