Nigerian girl victims of the gang were forced to work in Czech ‘nightclubs’ mostly along the border
Czech police say they have charged a group of Nigerians who are alleged to have headed a trafficking and prostitution ring which brought in at least 25 young girls to the country and forced them to work in brothels, mostly located on the frontier with Germany and Austria but also in the capital, Prague.
Three men and three women have been charged with trafficking and forging passports and other documents used by the gang, which operated from the middle of 2009.
The gang’s victims were girls aged between 18 and 25 who were promised secure jobs in Europe as hairdressers or in the hospitality sector. But on arriving in the continent they were presented with bills of around €50,000 for travel and forged documents. When they couldn’t pay, they were forced into the sex trade under the threat of violence.
Girls were often forced to take part in tribal ceremonies before they left, swearing to pay all their costs and keep secret the gang’s activities.
Investigators found that the girls were often forced to take part in tribal ceremonies before they left, swearing to pay all their costs and keep secret the gang’s activities. Sometimes the ceremonies took place in mortuaries with girls being forced to drink their own blood and warned their families would die if they broke their oaths.
Police said the investigation was complicated by the need to gain the girls’ trust and overcome the threats of black magic made against them.
The special police squad for uncovering and tackling organized crime, the ÚOOZ, said gang members sought to mask their activity by launching the official procedures for the girls to legalize their stays in the Czech Republic.
The head of the gang was a 37-year-old woman from Nigeria who had permanent residence in the Czech Republic. She cooperated with the heads of similar sex trafficking rings across Europe, for the most part led by women, who were given the title “mama.” Cooperation, for example, covered trading and exchanging girls.
Czech Police said they worked closely with forces from Austria, Switzerland and Italy in their investigation as well as with Czech authorities in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.