National Police officers in the course of their operation against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. | Interior ministry

5

Further success for the National Police in its fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation: it has dismantled a group led by a Nigerian "madame" in Palma. Nine people have been arrested and six victims have been freed, each of whom had a debt with the group of 30,000 euros.

The Nigerian woman, a permanent resident in Majorca, was the head of the gang which included two siblings, one of them in Vitoria (Basque Country) and the other in Germany.

The police investigation has revealed a similar set of circumstances to other cases when trafficking gangs have been targeted. A principal difference in this particular case involves the route that the women took from Nigeria - via Libya and Italy before moving on to Palma. The journey by boat from Libya was a hazardous one, and once in Italy the gang arranged air tickets to travel to Majorca from different Italian airports.

Falsely promised proper employment in Europe, the women were subjected to voodoo rituals in order to retain their loyalty and, when they arrived in Majorca, informed that they were in debt to the gang to the tune of 30,000 euros. In order to repay this, they were forced into working as prostitutes and were living in cramped conditions under tight control.

The police operation also involved searches related to voodoo practices and the finding of handwritten notes with the names of sex clubs, the women's documents and 1,400 euros in cash that had come from prostitution.

The National Police launched a plan against trafficking and sexual exploitation in 2013. This has so far resulted in 478 investigations.