Of­fi­cers swoop on ‘madame’ in sex slave raids

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL BRITTON

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

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