THREE alleged sex slave traffickers operating in Gandia (La Safor, Valencia) are facing up to 30 years each in prison.
In the trial that began yesterday (Tuesday May 25) at Valencia Provincial Court, the prosecution accused the defendants of conning Nigerian women into travelling over to Spain with fake offers to study and find stable work.
Once here, the accused – two women and one man – allegedly subjected their victims to voodoo rituals and threatened them and their families with violence if they did not agree to sell their bodies on the streets of Gandia to repay a debt of €50,000 for their journey and accommodation.
According to the prosecution, the defendants gradually increased the amount supposedly owed by the women in order to keep them enslaved indefinitely.
They are facing accusations of people trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, enforced prostitution, criminal organisation, money laundering, offences against the labour rights of foreign workers, and promotion of illegal immigration.
A fourth suspect is said to be at large in London and failed to answer the court summons, while the husband of the alleged gang leader died before the case went to court.
There are also thought to be several collaborators working in Nigeria who have not been identified and brought to justice.
Two victims have come forward to testify against the accused, revealing that between the years 2013 and 2016 the gang made more than €95,600 from the women.
All three defendants denied the charges but were reportedly unable to give plausible explanations for the large cash payments made into their bank accounts during that time.
One of the clients who also testified yesterday told the judge that both women worked as prostitutes voluntarily because it was the only job they could find in Spain.
The case continues.