Belgian investigators have dismantled a people-trafficking ring that smuggled scores of young Nigerian women to Belgium and forced them to become prostitutes.
Some of the Nigerian victims were girls aged as young as 14 or 15. People traffickers demanded 30,000 to 40,000 euros to bring them to Europe. The women were then forced to earn back the money as prostitutes once they had arrived.
In order to get here the women undertook an arduous journey over land through the Libyan Desert. Many of the women were raped en route.
From Libya the journey continued to Europe on rickety boats used to cross the Med. Once the women had arrived in Italian refugee camps, people traffickers again made contact with their victims. The women were employed as prostitutes in Italy, France and Belgium. They were forced to earn the money that had already been paid on their account as street prostitutes.
The people traffickers kept their operation running for several years. Investigators made their move recently, freeing ten women and detaining five ring leaders. – vrt