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Six people on trial in Malaga for forcing Nigerian women into prostitution by threatening them with voodoo
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Six people on trial in Malaga for forcing Nigerian women into prostitution by threatening them with voodoo

The prosecution is asking for sentences ranging from nine months to 67 years behind bars for six people in the province accused of human trafficking, money laundering and violating the rights of foreigners

Irene Quirante

Malaga

Monday, 8 April 2024, 16:35

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Six people are facing between nine months and 67 years in prison for allegedly performing voodoo on a group of young Nigerian women and forcing them to work for an illegal prostitution ring.

According to the prosecution, the accused - three men and three women - were part of a criminal organisation which, together with other residents in Nigeria, was in charge of recruiting victims in the African nation to bring them to Spain and force them to work as prostitutes in brothels in Malaga province.

They also allegedly instructed them to apply for asylum on the grounds they had been threatened in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram. According to the case, seen by SUR, the group had been operating since at least 2015.

Two women were allegedly responsible for the transfer of the six Nigerian women to Malaga. They were then allegedly threatened through voodoo and forced to prostitute themselves, and paid not for their time but for their performance. The women were forced to hand over the money they earned to pay off the alleged debt they accrued from their trip to Malaga, which in most cases was between 50,000 and 55,000 euros, according to the court papers.

Some of the victims risked their lives on a boat from Libya and, after arriving in Italy, were taken to the Costa del Sol on a train or lorry, according to the sentence. In other cases, they travelled directly by plane. The defendants allegedly informed them beforehand they would be working in prostitution, but had not informed them how much debt they would need to pay off.

Voodoo practice

The criminal network allegedly took advantage of the womens' beliefs so they would be submissive to their orders and pay off the debt. If not, the suspects allegedly threatened to harm or kill them or their relatives through voodoo.

According to the prosecution, one victim spent up to three years being sexually exploited by the organisation due to her fear of not paying off the debt. In other cases, the women managed to escape, although they paid thousands of euros before fleeing.

One woman accused of human trafficking, money laundering and other crimes against the rights of foreign citizens is facing 67 years in prison, while a second is facing 32 years behind bars.

A man in the gang allegedly responsible for transferring the cash earned from prostitution and organising to transport the women faces a three-year prison sentence and a fine of 60,000 euros for money laundering. Meanwhile, another person who allegedly helped the victims apply for asylum by lying about threats made to the women from Boko Haram faces nine months in prison.

According to the sentence, a married couple used the services of the criminal network to sexually exploit a sixth woman in their own home. The woman did not know she would be forced into prostitution until she arrived in Malaga, where she was told that she would have to work in a brothel in Torremolinos for ten hours every day of the week to pay off the debt for her trip, always under the threat of voodoo. The husband could be thrown behind bars for six years and eight months, while the wife faces two years' prison.

Reporting trafficking

Any person who has knowledge of a situation of sex or human trafficking or has been a victim can report it to the competent police authority. This can be reported to the National Police by phoning the specialised attention number for victims of trafficking 900 10 50 90; 091 or by emailing trata@policia.es. You can also contact the Guardia Civil via 062 or trata@guardiacivil.es.

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