POLICE freed seven Nigerian women who had been forced into prostitution in Almeria and made nine arrests in an operation to uncover sexual exploitation.
Investigations were first launched in October 2018 when one of the victims reported her experiences after she arrived in Spain. It became clear to police there was a criminal gang involved, made up mainly of Nigerians, but that as well as the structure in the African nation there were also members based in Spain and Italy.
The organisation sourced victims from the most deprived areas of Nigeria, convincing the women they would have a better life in Europe and a proper job. They travelled from Nigeria to Niger, Algeria and Libya, and from there crossed to Italy. To avoid raising suspicions, they went by ferry from Naples to Barcelona, getting through European police controls on false passports the organisation provided.
Following the gang’s instructions, as soon as they arrived in Spain the women requested International Protection.
The organisation would then move the women to Almeria, where they found themselves obliged to become prostitutes to pay off €30,000 debts for getting them from Nigeria and into this country.
Police searched five homes and a commercial premises, one of which was in Seville, seizing more than €10,000 in cash, falsified documentation, mobile phones and tablets.
Of the nine individuals detained in Almeria, Seville and Murcia, four are being held in prison.
Charges include membership of a criminal organisation, sexual exploitation, illegal detention, crimes against the rights of foreign citizens and falsifying documents.