A photo showing voodoo obects at a market in Benin. Photo: jbdodane / Flickr
Police have freed 16 women from Nigeria who were forced into prostitution on the streets of Zaragoza after being lured to Europe with the promise of a better life.
Targeted by a trafficking gang, they were persuaded to travel to Europe with the promise of respectable jobs but once they arrived in Spain, they were put to work as prostitutes “to pay off their debt” according to a statement by Spain’s National Police.
“They were forced to practice prostitution until they paid off the debt and were bound by a voodoo-juju oath by which they pledged to pay the debt incurred and not to denounce their exploiters,” said the statement.
The women were brought to Europe via a gruelling trip across Africa to the Libyan coast where they were loaded onto boats to make the perilous sea journey to Italy. From there they were taken across Europe by land to Zaragoza.
According to police the group of girls had been subjected to "witchraft" rituals threatening terrible consequences to them and their families if they disobeyed the organisation, police said.
Once in Zaragoza the women were forced onto the streets and had to hand over their earnings to a ‘madame’ who kept them in squalid conditions.
Police arrested 11 people in Spain, Italy, Germany and Denmark who were involved in the people trafficking gang as part of a Europe wide investigation.