Network of Nigerian Pimps Trafficked Prostitutes Amongst Asylum Seekers to Save Money

A total of 14 suspects have been indicted on people trafficking charges including several Nigerian migrants who brought women into France as asylum seekers where they would later become prostitutes.

The suspects, men and women aged between 20 and 35, were brought before a court in Marseille, southern France, after an investigation by the Central Office against Trafficking in Human Beings (OCRETH) that started in February last year, Le Parisien reports.

OCRETH, the judicial police, and the Marseille border police launched the investigation after a tip-off from a Nigerian woman who claimed to have been a victim of people traffickers. Investigators found that the traffickers were bringing women from Libya to Italy where they would later come to France.

“Some have lost their lives on this journey,” an investigator close to the case said.

“These men prefer to bring women with migrants because their journey costs much less than a plane ticket and avoids the formalities of entry into the Schengen area,” the investigator added.

“The majority of these women, aged between 18 and 25, come from Africa with the prospect and full awareness that they are going to prostitute themselves in Europe to make more money. A total of 30 young prostitutes sold their bodies in the streets of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th arrondissement of town,” an investigator said.

The pimps earned around 180,000 euros per year and were found with 13,000 euros in cash when they were raided and arrested last Tuesday.

The case comes only weeks after a hair salon in Paris was shut down when the manager Mohamed Bamba was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for trafficking women who he made work ten hours a day, six days a week for as little as 1 and a half euros an hour.

The case is not the first time female asylum seekers have been forced into prostitution. In Italy, it has been estimated that thousands of mostly Nigerian women have been forced to sell their bodies on the streets.

Last year in Germany, an investigation by television programme Frontal 21 claimed that women and young boys in an asylum home in Berlin were being forced into prostitution by security guards working at the home. The programme claimed that an entire network operated in Berlin asylum homes.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 

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