Roadmap to Hell: Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - BEN­JAMIN WELTON

Bar­bie Latza Nadeau Oneworld Pub­li­ca­tions (MARCH) Hard­cover $24.99 (352pp), 978-1-78607-255-9

Roadmap to Hell is a timely and dev­as­tat­ing ex­am­i­na­tion of the crim­i­nal un­der­world. Bar­bie Latza Nadeau’s jour­nal­is­tic, snappy, and easy-to-digest work breaks down ex­actly how West African women are lured to Italy by Nige­rian pimps and madams, who, in turn, work closely with Ital­ian or­ga­nized crime out­fits like the Camorra and the Cosa Nos­tra.

While there is no over­ar­ch­ing nar­ra­tive, Roadmap to Hell pro­vides snap­shots of the grow­ing sex-trade in­dus­try in Italy. Its con­tent is sala­cious. Nadeau fol­lows and in­ter­views dozens of Nige­rian sex slaves, Ital­ian jour­nal­ists, and po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, and at least one un­em­bar­rassed john who prowls the streets of Cas­tel Volturno.

Al­though she is a well-re­garded jour­nal­ist, Nadeau breaks with jour­nal­is­tic con­ven­tions at times, clearly fa­vor­ing her im­mi­grant sub­jects and openly ad­mit­ting her re­vul­sion for the cus­tomers who keep the sex trade go­ing. Nadeau’s cen­ter-left opin­ions do not stop her from ad­mit­ting that right-wing par­ties in Europe have a point when they ar­gue that open-bor­ders-style im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies have led to an uptick in crime, de­mo­graphic prob­lems, and a grow­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween or­ga­nized crime and ji­hadist ter­ror­ism.

The book shows how Italy’s en­demic cor­rup­tion and its two-faced re­ac­tion to the mi­grant cri­sis are caus­ing a flow­er­ing of Nige­rian crime in Italy’s al­ready im­pov­er­ished and crime-rid­den south. Many Nige­ri­ans are eco­nomic im­mi­grants, and Nadeau sug­gests that Italy’s mono­cul­ture can do more to in­te­grate the thou­sands of Nige­ri­ans who ar­rive on the shores of Si­cily and south­ern Italy ev­ery month.

Roadmap to Hell is a cru­sad­ing piece of jour­nal­ism that ex­poses the hu­man face of Italy’s grow­ing sex-slav­ery in­dus­try. This is a heart-wrench­ing vol­ume that nev­er­the­less man­ages to be clear-eyed about the na­ture of drug ad­dic­tion, su­per­sti­tion, and il­licit prac­tices.

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