- More Nigerians held against their will by powerful human trafficking syndicates around the world are being rescued
- This is due to the commitment of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)
- 39 women who are victims of se*ual exploitation were rescued in Spain in NAPTIP's latest operation
Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) have bust an EIYE confraternity gang involved in human trafficking in Spain.
According to a statement sent to journalists by the agency, 39 women who are victims of se*ual exploitation were rescued in the operation, which was conducted jointly with the operatives of the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the British Government and Guardian Civil, the Spanish Law Enforcement Agency.
The raids were carried out by Spanish police and British authorities. Photo source: Twitter
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The statement noted: “The victims, all Nigerian nationals and many under the age of 18, are believed to have undergone ‘Voodoo-Juju’ rituals in Nigeria to coerce them if they did not comply with orders given by the gang leaders. They were then moved by boat to Libya and Italy, before arriving in Spain.”
The statement revealed that the women were forced to live in cave-like houses, in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, unable to leave and se*ually exploited for the sole purpose of financial gain for the gang leaders, with all money eventually ending up in their hands in Nigeria.
NAIJ.com gathered that the international investigation into the organised criminal network began when a victim made a report to the Spanish authorities, detailing how she arrived in Spain along with a number of other girls.
Money from the trafficking, the agency revealed is laundered, through the honour-based Hawala system, popular with organised crime gangs.
“Investigators found the gang had numerous women under their control working as prostitutes to pay off their debts with Eiye Confraternity - upwards of 30,000 euros each - for the cost of moving the victims into Europe,” the agency added.
It stated that NCA officers worked with partners to develop intelligence on the network, including carrying out surveillance on those suspected to be involved and working with NAPTIP colleagues to build up information about the scale of the abuse and exploitation.
“The investigation was aided in Nigeria by NAPTIP investigators who are members of the British assisted Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) who travelled to Spain to participate and support the Guardia Civil and NCA during the arrest phases.
“A total of 89 people - including the leader of the gang had been arrested on suspicion of association to criminal organisations, modern slavery and money laundering. Forty three remain on remand in prison in Spain, following raids at 41 addresses across the country in November last year,” the statement said.
Reacting to the development, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the joint operations. She said that the outcome was in line with her vision of pursuing human traffickers who are Nigerian nationals to any part of the world where they may be operating.
She also expressed appreciation to the British and Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies for the confidence reposed on NAPTIP Agents in working together in such joint operations.
European Police (Europol) said raids were carried out across 11 Spanish cities last November but the operation could not be announced until Thursday, March 22 to avoid jeopardizing investigations.
Europol disclosed Eiye operated in clandestine groups all over the world, funding the brotherhood in Nigeria through both legal and illicit activities, particularly through human trafficking.
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Meanwhile, the federal government has reiterated its commitment to protect Nigerians in distress globally and to tackle the menace of child trafficking.
Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this when she received a 14-year-old victim of child labour from South Korea in Abuja.
The 14-year-old girl from Imo state was taken to South Korea in September 2015 by her mother’s sister who promised to further her education, but subjected her to manual labour.
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