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Prostitution victims freed after Gran Canaria identified as gang’s HQ 

PAGE 13 Prostitution victims  freed

National Police have dismantled an organisation dedicated to the sexual exploitation of Nigerian women, with arrests in the Canaries as well as on the mainland.

The organisation was said to have a strong infrastructure starting from Nigeria to reach Spain, passing through Turkey, Greece and France.

Seven people have been arrested in Arrecife (Las Palmas), Madrid and Vitoria (Álava), including the head of the organisation, and five victims have been released.

The operation was carried out within the Plan of the National Police against the Trafficking of Human Beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

“The victims were captured in Nigeria, where after being subjected to voodoo rituals they were taken to Europe where they had to practise prostitution to pay off their debts,” said a police spokes-man.

The investigations began in 2015 when the agents detected the existence of a criminal organisation of Nigerian origin, based in Gran Canaria.

“The women were recruited in Nigeria and the organisation was responsible for their transfer through different routes across the African continent to Europe, providing them with the necessary documentation at the origin and teaching them how to act at the border posts so as not to be detected at the controls,” say the police.

“Once in Spain, the victims were transferred to different cities of the national territory such as Madrid, Vitoria or Barcelona to force them to practise street and club prostitution, under the strict control of the members of the network.”

“Once the victims were selected, they were subjected to voodoo rituals to strengthen, through fear, their loyalty to the exploiters. Through these rituals, the victims com-mitted themselves not to denounce their exploiters, not to escape and to deliver all the money that they obtained to the members of the organisation.”

The curses included taking strands of their hair, cutting pieces of fingernails or toes and even being forced to eat the heart of raw chickens.

The victims contracted a debt that was around 55,000 euros to which they had to add the expenses of maintenance, residence and even pay transport tickets for their operators.

They were forced to work between 8pm and 3am the following morning.

Of the five victims freed, two were found in Arrecife (Las Palmas) and one in Barcelona, one in Valencia and one in Vitoria.