via Guardian UK
MADRID (AP) â Ringleaders of a human trafficking ring that brought Nigerian women to Spain and forced them into prostitution by threatening them with Voodoo curses were brought before a judge on Saturday.
Many of the 23 suspects were charged with human trafficking and extortion at the court in the southwestern city of Huelva, police said.
The arrests occurred during nationwide raids that began Thursday and were continuing, police said.
The crackdown was triggered by a woman who told police in February of the gang’s intimidation tactics.
The gang tempted young Nigerian women to travel to Europe with promises of prosperity and later extorted money and controlled them through intimidation, police said in a statement.
The victims, aged 25 to 35, were forced to pay large sums of money to the gang members, who told the women they would go mad or have their souls destroyed if they disobeyed orders given during Voodoo rituals that were held in Nigeria involving pieces of their fingernails or hair.
Voodoo is a religion practiced primarily in Haiti and parts of Africa.