Twelve Nigerian men and two women were sentenced between two and nine years by a French court for trafficking at least forty women for sex, often using witchcraft and voodoo beliefs to control their victims.
The sex trafficking network is said to have operated between 2014 and 2017, luring 40 young women between the ages of 18 and 30 to the French city of Marseille where they were forced to become prostitutes.
The central figure in the network was 27-year-old Tony Osemiwigie, while 27-year-old Kelly Orobosa is said to have been the primary organiser for getting migrants between Italy and France. The pair, along with another man named Happy Sunday, were all sentenced to nine years in prison by the Marseille court, France Bleu reports.
During the trial, victims of the network spoke out in court, stating that when they arrived in Europe they were told they had to pay off debts between 45,000 and 60,000 euros and that they would be required to become prostitutes to do so.
Italy: Nigerian Mafia Forcing Girls as Young as Twelve Into Prostitution https://t.co/YS0ptpaUtW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 22, 2019
Two of the defendants in the case, both women, were former prostitutes themselves and became “mamas” or female pimps after they had paid off their debt to the network. The pair were sentenced to five and six years in prison for their role in the network.
The network is said to have used voodoo and witchcraft beliefs to control the women trafficked into France, a tactic that has been seen in other countries where Nigerian sex trafficking gangs operate.
In 2019, Italian authorities busted a Nigerian mafia sex trafficking operation and stated that they too had used voodoo rituals and threats to control women who had been forced into prostitution. the Nigerian mafia in Italy has been accused of forcing children as young as 12 into prostitution.
A similar method of control was also described by two Nigerian migrant women in Sweden in 2018, in which they claimed to have been forced to eat a raw chicken heart as part of a ritual.
Police Bust ‘Voodoo’ Migrant Sex Slave Ring Which Forced Women ‘To Eat Raw Chicken Hearts’ https://t.co/Ch6Z5NvqTs
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 25, 2018
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com