Italian police have detained 10 Nigerians accused of running a human
trafficking ring that allegedly used voodoo rituals and promises of jobs
to lure migrants to Italy only to be put to work as prostitutes.
Police in Catania, Sicily, said the victims, including some minors, paid
as much as 25,000 euros (($28,000) each to make the dangerous journey
from Nigeria to Libya and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
Police in Italy estimated based on money transfers traced during the
investigation that the suspected traffickers made upwards of 1.2 million
euros (about $1.4 million.) The suspects include five men and five
women, with four more people sought.
Police said the organizers of the ring were careful that the women not
pay their “madams” directly in Italy. Rather they would wire the money
to either the recruiter or their families in Nigeria, who would then pay
off the local recruiters.
Details of how the network operated were provided to investigators in
April 2017 by a woman, identified only as Giuly, who was rescued at sea
along with 433 migrants by the humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee,
In all, police said they identified 20 victims of the ring, which had
divisions in Nigeria, Libya, Italy and other European countries.