39 Nigerian girls rescued from caves in Spain, U.K.


Police have smashed a Nigerian organised crime ring in one of the largest operations against human trafficking.
A Europol statement on Thursday said. The victims, according to the European Union’s law enforcement agency, were trafficked to Europe through Libya and Italy, forcing women into prostitution to pay for their journey. BBC report said that Spain’s Guardia Civil carried out 41 house searches in 11 Spanish cities, while Britain’s National Crime Agency mounted raids in Manchester.

The report said Europol blocked bank accounts that laundered more than $370 000 for the organisation, adding that the criminal ring was active in multiple EU countries. “89 people were arrested and 39 victims rescued. The victims were kept in ‘squalid conditions in caves’ and intimidated with voodoo threats,” Europol said. “Gang members forced the women into sex work in order to pay off a 30,000 euro ($37,000; £26,000) debt.” Those said to have been arrested includes an unnamed but famous Nigerian DJ. He was said to have helped moved victims to Spain and organised sexual exploitation across the country.

The report said the DJ was caught flying back into Spain after recording a music video. Investigations began when an underage victim filed a complaint with the police, saying she had been pressured into trafficking by voodoo threats made in Nigeria. The operation, which was carried out with police from the UK and Nigeria, is one of the biggest trafficking busts in Europe, said Europol.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), the report said, flew to Barcelona to meet Mossos, the Catalan police, who conducted the investigation into the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC). Information was passed over and the NCA, alongside partners in Madrid, conducted further investigation into the group, leading to these arrests. “We know the group have cells, or nests as SEC called them, across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

They regularly move women and narcotics between different cities in Europe depending on demand. We know that SEC is back at work in Barcelona, and given time, they will be sure to continue their work in the trafficking and other socio vices that have given the Edo Nation a bad image in the country.
Chief Edebiri said the decision of the Oba was a step in the right direction, adding that it would bring total sanity to Edo State and also help to caution those intending to go into such nefarious activities. “What the Benin monarch has done is the best decision ever, and it is to the general interest of the Edo people.

Before now, the situation was becoming unbearable; I was watching CNN one morning everything they were saying was about Benin, they even sent one of their reporters to Benin here to interview people and find out if what people are saying about us is true or not. It was as if Benin has become, or as if this is the place meant for the production of harlots and all anti-socio behaviours in Nigeria.

It was at this point that the Omo N’Oba came up with this method.” “This step has yielded results and that is why people are reacting. Any decree High Court sitting in Kano has sentenced a 57-year-old Yusuf Umar to 10 years imprisonment for human trafficking offences.

He is to pay a fine of N2,000,000.00 (Two million naira) only. Umar is to also spend additional two years in prison if after the 10 years jail he is unable to pay the N2,000,000.00 fine. Umar, who hails from Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State, had procured for himself a 14-year-old girl from the same state and sexually exploited her. The offence is contrary to Section16 (1) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015.

The Section says: ‘’Any person who procures or recruits any person under the age of 18 years to be subjected to prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation with himself, any person or persons, either in Nigeria or anywhere else, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and a fine of not less than N1,000,000.00’’. Operatives of NAPTIP arrested and charged him to court on March 5, on a count.

When he was arraigned in court on Friday, he pleaded guilty to the offence. At the commencement of the case, the prosecution reviewed the facts and tendered two exhibits. Delivering judgement on the case with charge number: FHC/KN/ CR/37/2018, presiding judge, Justice Jude Kanyiot Dagat, found him guilty and sentenced him accordingly.

This conviction has brought the total number of those convicted for human trafficking by NAPTIP to 341. In a related development, Chief David Edebiri the Esogban of Benin Kingdom has showered encomiums on the Oba of Benin Omo No’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Oba Ewuare II for recent curses he placed on people with questionable character in the state who have persistently involved in the illicit trade called human UK and the rest of Spain.

“This is an international network with connections across three continents and without more international cooperation like that between the NCA and Spanish police, the group will continue to thrive,” Europol said. Reacting to this development, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah- Donli, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the joint operations.

She said that the outcome was in line with her vision of pursuing human traffickers, who are Nigerian nationals to any part of the world where they may be operating. “Like I said in my maiden press conference, if we miss them here on their way out they will meet us waiting for them on arrival at destination,” she said. She expressed appreciation to the British and Spanish Law Enforcement Agencies for the confidence reposed on NAPTIP agents in working together in such joint operations.

Meanwhile, a Federal or law that is made and you do not get reactions from people, it means it is not a good one; any good decree must generate reactions from the masses. I hear on social media that the curse is already having an effect in one village around Benin City.

I don’t know if this is the case because I don’t visit social media often. But I tell you that what the monarch has done will bring sanity to Edo.” Meanwhile, one of the victims of human trafficking who is based in Austria expressed gratitude to the Oba for coming to their rescue.

The victim, Joy, wrote on her Facebook page: “My name is Joy I’m speaking from Austria. I was taken from Benin to Libya and then finally to Austria. We were three but our madam took one to Italy and the other to France. I was asked to pay 35,000 Euros, while the one she took to France was told to repay 45,000 Euros and the one taken to Italy was to refund 30,000.00 Euros. I have paid 30,000 Euros already. When I called her to tell her this is what our Royal Father the Oba of Benin has said, she replied that if I refuse to pay her balance, whatever I see I should take.

“Before we embarked on the journey, they took me to a ‘juju’ man who took hair from my private part, my head, collected my underwear, bath me in one river. I took an oath not to tell anyone of my experiences. Now that our Oba has said something about it, I told her that I’m not going to pay the balance.

I want the world and my parents to know that the woman has threatened to kill me; so whatever happens to me they should hold her responsible. But over here we are so happy with what the Benin monarch has done.”

39 Nigerian girls rescued from caves in Spain, U.K. 39 Nigerian girls rescued from caves in Spain, U.K. Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Sunday, March 25, 2018 Rating: 5

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