October 20, 2020

Nigeria sends a prosecutor to Spain to collaborate in the fight against 'voodoo trafficking' | Society

Nigeria sends a prosecutor to Spain to collaborate in the fight against 'voodoo trafficking' | Society

Tall and thin, prosecutor Adeyemi – a name assumed for security reasons – arrived last Tuesday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice in Madrid, accompanied by representatives of the Promis Project, an initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the High Commissioner for Human Rights that seeks to improve collaboration between countries of origin and destination of the smuggling of migrants and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation to fight the mafias that profit from it. Adeyemi will be the first judicial representative of a sub-Saharan African country that will collaborate from Spain in fighting this scourge that punishes especially women from their country and that has a peculiar characteristic: the use of voodoo rites to prostitute the victims against their will.

Currently, in Spain there are only judicial liaisons from France, Morocco and the United Kingdom, so the arrival of the Nigerian prosecutor is a novelty, especially because it comes to collaborate in the fight against a type of crime, irregular immigration and trafficking in human beings, which the recently approved National Strategy against Organized Crime of the Ministry of the Interior qualifies as "a serious threat to national security" in the medium term. The police figures support the Ministry of Justice's commitment: during 2018, the National Police 22 operations against organizations of Nigerian origin dedicated to sexually exploiting women. There were 155 detainees and 70 victims of this nationality were released, four of them minors.

Nigerian women are, in fact, foreigners who suffer the most violence of these plots in Spain, far above the rest of the nationalities. In addition, they occupy the lowest echelon of prostitution, which is exercised in industrial estates of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Levante and coastal cities. "The Nigerian networks are the most extensive and cover everything from capturing, transfer and final exploitation," says Chief Inspector José Nieto, of the Central Unit of Illegal Immigration and Documentary Falsehoods (UCRIF) of the National Police. For him, the arrival of the Nigerian prosecutor is "an important news, because it can help us to act in origin against these networks, but also to improve the protection of the women who end up reporting and families who live there." Nieto ensures that these women declare against their exploiters "is, at present, a heroic act on their part. Their testimonies are key to getting convictions, "he stresses.

Ana Gallego, general director of International Legal Cooperation of the Ministry of Justice, also appreciates the arrival of the Nigerian prosecutor as an important step in the fight against trafficking in human beings: "It should serve to maximize the scope of police and judicial investigations that begin in Spain." Gallego assures that UNODC offered them the possibility of having a judicial representative of the African country in June, shortly after the Government of Pedro Sánchez, and that the ministry made it "an absolute priority because of the importance given to the fight against immigration and trafficking networks". The high office of Justice is set among the objectives to achieve that the Spanish judges have the possibility of taking statements in Nigeria to suspects and witnesses of the plots that operate in Europe, but also "to attack the patrimony of the traffickers in their countries of origin "As a key instrument to combat it.

Although from Justice do not want to set a deadline for the arrival of those results, they do hope that the first effects of the presence in Madrid of the Nigerian representative will be noticed "with shorter deadlines in the responses to a judicial requirement of collaboration." Gallego admits that, at present, the Spanish courts remit few rogatory commissions with Nigeria and, in addition, almost all for cases of fraud by the Nigerian card system, but practically none for trafficking or trafficking of persons, precisely because of the delay in being filled. "Some of them get answers, but many do not, and we hope that will change from now on," adds the general director, who highlights the example of Italy, the first and still the only European country in which the figure of the Nigerian liaison prosecutor works. , as an example of the improvements that may come in. In the year that a prosecutor of the African country has settled, the judicial procedures that were previously delayed They were up to one year old or they were never completed, they are resolved in a month.

At first, the Nigerian prosecutor will work in Spain for an initial period of six months, with the possibility of extending it in time according to the results. Henna Mustonen, representative of the United Nations Office on Crime, the organism that has promoted the collaboration project, assures that if the initiative gives results "it will be studied to extend it to other sub-Saharan African countries in which the mafias of irregular immigration operate so that they also move prosecutors and magistrates to European countries". The representative of the UNODC assures that the ultimate goal of the United Nations project is "to act against the entire criminal chain, from the countries of origin to those of destination, passing through those of transit."

While this is happening, Adeyemi has started her work in Madrid with a busy schedule in which, after meeting with the Minister of Justice, Dolores Delgado, will hold meetings with the different actors involved, including representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor, of the State Security Forces and of the Government Delegation against Gender Violence. After a first period of six weeks, in which will collect the first data and requests for help of ongoing investigations, the prosecutor will temporarily return to Nigeria to, thus, expedite the collaboration of the authorities of the African country with Madrid in these cases concrete. Then he will return to Madrid to start over with new cases. That yes, always within the anonymity, to avoid that the mafias of his country against which he will help to fight retaliate against him or his family. A measure that Chief Inspector Nieto justifies: "They are very dangerous."

Social networks and black magic

Nigerian mafias use so much of old rituals of black magic as from social networks to enslave women who prostitute by force in Europe. Chief Inspector José Nieto details that with their spells they get a total subjugation of the victims, fearing that, if they do not obey, the consequences will be paid by their relatives in Nigeria in the form of bad harvests or misfortunes. "It works so well for them, they do not need to have strict control over them. They know perfectly well that they will do everything they are told, "he says in police command. Social networks, and specifically Facebook, have another objective: to attract new victims. Nieto details that all of them make them open profiles in which they hang images of themselves with images that show their stay in Spain as a trip to prosperity. "It is the members of the plot themselves who are responsible for feeding these profiles with texts and photos that encourage more women to cross Africa to unknowingly end up being forced to prostitute themselves," the agent points out. Once in the networks of the mafia, women must return a debt of up to 65,000 euros to leave them, which will force them to prostitute for years in Spain. Only when they are about to pay it will they receive an offer from their exploiters: settle the last thousands of euros that they still have to pay in exchange for convincing someone they know so that, like her, they prostitute themselves. With it they will also use voodoo and social networks.


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