Officers swoop on ‘madame’ in sex slave raids
A‘MADAME’ suspected to have controlled women who were trafficked from Nigeria to Spain as sex slaves has been arrested in Middleton.
The Nigerian woman is suspected of playing a key role in an organised criminal network known as the ‘Eiye Confraternity’ – which spanned Nigeria, Libya, Italy and Spain.
Investigators swooped to free 39 women and girls who were living in Spain in unsafe, cave-like conditions.
Squashed and in squalor, shocking video footage filmed when they were rescued reveals the inhumane isolation of their lives.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the victims, all Nigerian nationals, are thought to have undergone voodoostyle rituals in Nigeria to force them to comply with their captors’ orders.
They were then moved by boat to Libya and Italy, before arriving in Spain.
Many were aged under 18, the NCA said, and were prevented from leaving so they could be ‘sexually exploited for the sole purpose of financial gain’. All monies ended up in Nigeria.
Video footage of the woman’s arrest in Middleton has been released by the NCA.
Her age or the exact location of her arrest have not been revealed.
The NCA said the ‘Nigerian madame’ was suspected of controlling some of the victims in Spain and paying money to an organised crime group in Nigeria.
A spokesman said: “She remains in custody awaiting extradition to Spain where she faces prosecution.”
The arrest was made on January 16, but details have only just been revealed for operational and security reasons.
It was the 89th arrest to be made as part of the enquiry, which was launched when a victim made a report to Spanish authorities detailing how she arrived in Spain with other girls.
The NCA said it was discovered that money was laundered through the honour-based Hawala system, popular with organised crime gangs.
Deputy NCA director Tom Dowdall, modern slavery and human trafficking threat lead for the NCA, said: “Eiye Confraternity was a highly organised crime gang, exploiting young women for lengthy periods of time, keeping them in horrendous conditions where they knew there would be no escape.”
See video on this story at: manchestereveningnews.co.uk
TOP: Officers get ready to enter the woman’s property in Middleton and, above, she is led away