Police in Spain announced on August 20 the arrests of nine people in two raids on a Nigerian prostitution ring that had forced women into sexual slavery under threats of subjecting them to voodoo rituals. Five persons were arrested in Malaga, and another four in Barcelona. The victims had been tricked by women in Nigeria with offers of legitimate work. The criminal gang advised them on obtaining fraudulent travel documents in order to enter Spain and work there.
Three dwellings were raided in Malaga and three in Barcelona, where more than 2,200 euros were seized along with various fraudulent identity documents. In addition, objects for the celebration of voodoo rituals were found.
Police began their investigation of the human trafficking ring after receiving tips from Spain’s embassy in Nigeria and its attaché for Immigrant and Border Affairs in Lagos. Frequent visits by a Nigerian woman to the consulate in Lagos led Spanish authorities to suspect criminal activity. The woman in question was accompanied on each visit to the embassy by young Nigerian women. Nigerian police moved in an arrested the woman who was requesting travel to Spain.
The woman now under arrest in Nigeria had consistently used the same method to obtain victims for eventual sex slavery in Europe. Once she had found women who were seeking work in Spain, she accompanied them to the embassy to advise them on obtaining travel documents. Once the women would arrive in Spain, they were caught by members of the gang at the airport and immediately subjected to sexual assault. They were then induced to sell their bodies on the streets and industrial parks in Spain.
The members of the gang used different methods to control the victims and force them into sexual bondage, as well as paying off the cost of travel from Africa. The victims were frequently subjected to voodoo rituals, making the victims fear for their lives or “soul death” and thus completely losing their free will. A similar raid in 2008 in Spain yielded 23 victims, released from sexual servitude.