Italian police have detained a group of 14 Nigerians police after accusations of their involvement in a human trafficking ring. They reportedly used voodoo rituals and promises of steady jobs to attract migrants to come to Italy, most of whom were then forced into prostitution.
The police in Catania, Sicily, said that young Nigerian women and girls had reportedly received payments of up to €25,000 to travel from Nigeria to Libya and then undertake the perilous crossing over the Mediterranean Sea into Italy. Some of the victims of the sex trafficking operation included minors.
While still in Nigeria, the victims were threatened by a “witch doctor” and forced to participate in a ritual involving voodoo rites. They were made to swear an oath that they would not reveal details about their journey or flee, and that they would pay back the €25,000 on arrival in Italy.
The Italian police estimate that the human traffickers earned upwards of €1.2 million from the sex trafficking operation and that money was sent to the witch doctor in Nigeria in order to gather more recruits.