Police have staged operations against prostitution and found links to human trafficking. | Vasil Vasilev


A Nigerian citizen, arrested in Palma, is suspected of having controlled a network based in Alicante that was trafficking women in order that they should become prostitutes.

An NGO was instrumental in alerting the National Police. It has related the story of one of the victims who needed five abortions as a consequence of repeated rape. The background to this was that Nigerian women were being "captured" in their own country before being moved across the desert in Niger and Libya. Some of them died or were murdered. Others were subjected to regular sexual assaults.

From Libya they were to be transported on small boats to Europe. On the first occasion, the boat sank and one woman drowned. On the second occasion, the Italian navy intercepted the boat. After some time at a special centre, one of the members of the network took charge of the victim. She was taken to Milan and then on to Benidorm, where she lived with the head of the gang. She was repeatedly abused and told that in order to pay a debt, she had to become a prostitute at a club in Alicante. When she became pregnant by him, she had to have an abortion.

The police have dismantled the network, which had members in Benidorm, Pamplona and Palma. Women from Nigeria were told that they owed 35,000 euros for the cost of transport. In conditions of total vulnerability, they did not make reports to the police for fear of being killed.

* The human trafficking of women from Nigeria, who are enticed by promises of real work and are then subjected to controls, such as voodoo, is a problem that the Spanish authorities are all too well aware of. There have been similar previous cases to the one outlined here, and they have come to light following police operations to free women and to shut down prostitution rings. The issue of mugging prostitutes in Magalluf and Playa de Palma is believed to be linked to this human trafficking, at least in part.