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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019
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Gardaí believe sex traffickers use voodoo rituals on their victims

Seven victims of human trafficking were identified in Ireland over the past 48 hours.

Image: Woman's Hands Tied via Shutterstock

A EUROPEAN-WIDE OPERATION against human trafficking identified seven potential victims in Ireland over the past two days.

The investigations in 14 European countries were organised by Europol, and led by Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), to combat trafficking from west African nations.

Irish personnel targeted two human trafficking gangs across the country. One premises in west Dublin was searched and two Nigerians were arrested.

The arrests were made in connection with the suspected trafficking of seven other Nigerians for sexual exploitation into Ireland.

The garda Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit says the west African crime groups are highly networked with exploiters, facilitators, money launderers and people who force travel documents and visas.

“After being recruited in their home countries, the victims are trafficked to Europe and sent to work in brothels or in the street with forged identity documents,” gardaí explained in a statement, adding that victims are often moved within the EU.

Traffickers use voodoo rituals, which are commonly practised in West Africa, as an effective mean of exerting pressure on their victims, to intimidate them, and ensure obedience.

“This practice enables the perpetrators to make the exploited women pay off their debts which can be up to €60,000 incurred as a result of their trafficking to Europe.”

During the operation, which began yesterday and lasted through until this morning, checks at airports and ports were conducted.

Evidence of the movement of money believed to be proceeds of crime was found, according to gardaí.

As part of the co-ordinated approach taken, another 31 people have been checked in Ireland following requests by other member states.

 

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