Friday, September 13, 2002

Vast Nigerian prostitution network smashed in France

PARIS — A Nigerian prostitution network stretching over almost the whole of France has been smashed by police who arrested 45 people including two who allegedly ran it, an informed source said Friday.

The vice squad in Reims, northeast France, earlier this year noticed a large increase in the number of African prostitutes, mostly from Nigeria and Sierra Leone, working in the city centre.

The police discovered the existence of a perfectly structured network stretching to the east, west and south of France, including the island of Corsica.

A Reims examining magistrate opened an investigation that was carried out jointly by the city's police and the central office for the repression of trafficking in human beings.

All members of the network were identified and placed under surveillance for several weeks until Wednesday night when a wave of arrests commenced.

Most of those arrested lacked the documents necessary to live in France. False administrative documents for requesting political refugee status were found in a search of their premises along with 11,000 euros in cash.

The two alleged ringleaders were picked up at home in the Paris region along with three of the prostitutes. All were Nigerians.

Forty other women were arrested in Paris and the provinces.

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Created: September 16, 2002
Last modified: September 16, 2002
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