Las Palmas link to human trafficking gang
The National Police, in a joint operation with Europol, have dismantled a criminal network dedicated to the trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The organisation was formed by 15 members who have been detained in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (two), Palma de Mallorca (eight) and Alicante (five).
The network had active members in Libya and Nigeria, stopping off places on the African route that they use to transfer the victims captured in the city of Benin City (Nigeria), focusing on young people belonging to the social strata and lower economic levels.
The five victims identified in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and in Palma de Mallorca were forced to pay a debt that amounted to 35,000 euros and, in addition, they were sub-jected to voodoo-juju rituals under the threat of suffering serious consequences for them and their families in Nigeria if they dared to denounce their exploiters.
Since October of last year to date, groups specialised in this type of crime have carried out 536 operations to eradi-cate sexual exploitation, one of the main forms of exploi-tation of trafficking in human beings, achieving the arrest of 1,219 people and the release of 290 victims.
The investigation began when the agents learned of a criminal network based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante. After various arrangements, the agents found that the organisation was perfectly hierarchical with a clear distribution of roles and with the aim of achieving the sexual exploitation of its victims, for which other crimes were committed such as the documentary falsification with which they managed to cross border of women.
The gang carried out rituals of voodoo-juju to the women with which they were able to strengthen the ties of loyalty of the young women with their controllers through fear and of possible reprisals by the organisation. In this way, the exploiters took advantage of the situation of vulnerability to which women were subjec-ted, forced to pay a debt imposed by the organisation that in some cases amounted to 35,000 euros for having been brought from Nigeria to Spain.
The women were povided with false or improperly issued documentation for crossing borders, also noting the fraudulent use of documentation belonging to other people, usurping their personality.