A major operation carried out by the Spanish police in association with the Office of Criminal Investigation in Germany and Europol has led to rescue of 21 Nigerian prostitutes and the arrest of 24 suspects, including members of 'Supreme Eiye Confraternity cult, in the exclusive districts of Ibiza, Spain.
The prostitutes, some as young as 16 were lured to the Spanish mainland with fake promises of jobs and then forced to work 14 hours a day. The were beaten with brooms and sticks if they didn't bring in €1,000.
"The network captured very young victims among the lower classes of the major Nigerian cities, deceiving them with false job offers in Spain,"
"Once in our country, they were forced into prostitution in marathon days, being beaten if they did not earn the money demanded by the gang," said a police spokesman.
Investigators said Ibiza was chosen for the summer because of the high influx of tourists, with the gang totalling controlling the streets of the exclusive areas. They were kept in one apartment and only allowed out occasionally to buy food or to keep an appointment with a client.
"If they didn't earn 1,000 euros a day, they would be forced to kneel for hours and beaten with sticks and brooms,' said the spokesman.
Police found that 17 women were forced to share one apartment of just 30 square metres, with three to four girls sleeping in one single bed. The vulnerable women were given employment offers 'too good to refuse' in view of their poor circumstances but once captured, were unable to escape.They were subjected to voodoo rituals and sworn to loyalty contracts under the threat of family members being killed.
The women were smuggled into Europe on boats and planes and were only told their job offer was false when they arrived in Spain.
They were then told they would have to pay up to 50,000 pounds to be freed and could do so through prostitution.
Those arrested included two women said to be the ringleaders who had 'years of experience' in recruiting vulnerable girls. Police said they took elaborate steps to avoid detection, often moving the women from house to house.
One of the gang was arrested in Germany where he had tried to hide and five others were found to be members of the 1960s cult called 'Supreme Eiye Confraternity'.
The money earned from prostitution was sent to Nigeria via Madrid where a bar was used as the front. Seven properties were raided in Spain and Germany and 20 bank accounts blocked.