The research division dealing with human beings of the Brussels Federal Judicial Police, in collaboration with the North Brussels local police force, dismantled an important criminal network that is engaged in human trafficking through prostitution in the northern quarter of Brussels, it said in a statement on Thursday. The survey, the largest of its kind, spanned several months. Five suspects, including one main suspect, were brought before the investigating judge. The Brussels prosecutor’s office had already announced on Thursday that searches linked to prostitution had been carried out in a district of Schaerbeek.
Investigators conducted several searches simultaneously at several locations in Belgium. They searched the hideouts of the suspects, the “safehouses” in which the victims were lodged, and about thirty brothels in the Brussels prostitution neighborhood, that had unofficially been appropriated to the main suspect.
The investigation targeted the criminal activities of a Nigerian pimp who had been rising in the ranks in recent years in the Brussels prostitution neighborhood. She allegedly recruited young girls in Nigeria to bring them to Brussels using traffickers. “This process would have been practiced at the international level in the Nigerian milieu of prostitution”, police said.
Young people, even very young girls, are recruited in Nigeria and then sent to Europe where they are made to engage in prostitution under the control of a Nigerian pimp, police said. The pimp makes them undergo a voodoo ceremony before their departure and the girls swear obedience. After taking this oath, they are then transported, usually in groups, by Nigerian traffickers to the Libyan coast. It is a perilous journey that lasts from several weeks to several months and during which the girls undergo regular rapes by the traffickers and their circle. Many of them die during the trip because of these trying conditions.