Thursday, January 24, 2008

Italian Police Smash Nigerian Drug Gangs

From VOA News:

Italy's anti-Mafia unit has smashed a Nigerian drug and human-trafficking ring that forced hundreds of women into prostitution. Police say dozens of Nigerians were arrested in Italy on Tuesday and 15 others in European countries including the Netherlands.

Operation Viola ended early Tuesday carried out by Italian and Dutch police with the help of Interpol. A total of 66 Nigerian citizens were arrested, mainly in Italy, accused of smuggling compatriots into Europe to work as prostitutes and drug dealers. Police said 51 suspects were arrested and are accused of being affiliated with the Italian mafia who have been linked to human trafficking, slavery, kidnapping and international drug trafficking.

Police also uncovered "serious adoption irregularities" in which Nigerian women living in Italy were able to take infants from Nigerian orphanages and sell them abroad.

One of the police chiefs involved in the operation said one of the most chilling and touching aspects from a human point of view was the way these women were forced into slavery, the way the were trafficked. These women, he said, were completely subjugated with voodoo rites.

Expressing satisfaction at the outcome of the operation, Interior Minister Giuliano Amato noted "a powerful international organization that exploited human beings and in particular minors has been smashed." "These are extremely serious crimes that have brought slavery back, feeding off poverty," he said.

Amato added that law enforcement needed to be inflexible with these criminals, and thanks to great police work, excellent results are being achieved.

Read the full article

I find this article particularly interesting because of the use of unusual cultural factors, in this case voodoo, to control the trafficking victims. It's also good to see law enforcement agencies working together (Italian & Dutch police & Interpol). I will keep track of this and see what happens in court- now it's up to the criminal justice system to convict the offenders.

1 comment:

  1. That's good news!

    I heard that an estimated 500,000 Ukrainian women reside in Italy, most of them as live-in maids, and some of them as prostitutes and sex slaves.

    This is one of the disheartening dystopias that Ukraine must defeat to stem depopulation.

    Thank you for the report!