Nigerian prostitutes appear on Gothenburg streets

A new group of prostitutes has emerged in the Rosenlund district of central Gothenburg, an area long known as a gathering place for women working in the sex trade.

Recently, police have noticed an influx of Nigerian woman to the area and believe that their arrival represents a new case of human trafficking.

The woman are lured from their home country and kept in check by magic rituals and threats, according to the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper.

“We’ve spoken with around ten Nigerian women who are selling sex. But it’s hard to know exactly how many are here,” said Mats Paulsson, head of the Gothenburg police’s trafficking unit, to GP.

For several years, Nigerian woman have dominated the sex trade in Oslo.

But Norway changed its prostitution laws recently, and authorities speculate that might be part of the reason why women from the West African country have started appearing in Sweden.

“That they haven’t been coming here probably has to do with the Swedish prostitution law which makes the market smaller here,” said Jonas Flink from Gothenburg’s prostitution group.

“Not too long ago Norway decided to pass a similar prostitution law [to Sweden’s]. Shortly thereafter we’ve seen [Nigerian women] here and it looks like that might be why.”

Women from Nigeria have been documented as having a long history working as prostitutes in Europe, having come to Italy in large numbers in the 1980s.

According to GP, the young women are sold into the internal human trafficking rings in Nigeria, they take part in a ceremony rooted in West African spiritual rituals.

The women take an oath never to reveal the traffickers or pimps to police and to pay back the debts incurred during their journey to Europe.