The Brussels court in chambers ruled on Thursday to detain for at least a further month two Nigerian prostitution ring leaders who were arrested on Tuesday. This has been stated by the Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office. Three others running the ring had their detention extended by a month last Friday. All five of the suspects, two men and three women, are thought to have moved young Nigerian girls to Belgium, some of whom were barely 14 years old, over a period of at least two years, and possibly forced them into prostitution.
The inquiry into the organisation’s criminal activities has been ongoing for several months. The ring operates through the medium of pimps located in Benin City (Nigeria). They buy young girls, the price for whom is negotiated with their families. Such girls are often sold for amounts which can reach 30,000 to 45,000 euros.
Next the girls are taken to Libya, boarding refugee boats, to illegally cross the Mediterranean Sea. Generally, the boats are intercepted by Italian coastguards. The girls then end up in refugee camps but the criminal organisation ensures that they able to leave these locations.
Once their false identity papers are obtained, they are taken to Brussels. The Nigerian pimp and his two assistants then almost immediately force the girls to ply their trade in the streets or in cafés.
During their journey, the girls are sexually abused and subjected to numerous forms of hardship.
The Belgian police state that several dozen Nigerian girls are thought to have been exploited and forced to indulge in prostitution by this ring, which is currently active in Belgium, France and Italy. The girls recruited in this way conclude an agreement with the organisation in the hope of a better life for themselves and for their families. Belgian investigators have so far rescued ten girls from the clutches of prostitution.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)