Traffickers intimidated victims with voodoo

Eight people were charged on Wednesday for trafficking and pimping 10 African women, intimidating the victims into prostitution by using means including voodoo.

The 29-year-old woman who is suspected of having run the operation is from Cameroon. She brought the women into Sweden, including a 16-year-old girl from Nigeria.

The presence and exploitation of African women in prostitution in Sweden is highly unusual. This is the largest-ever case exposed in Sweden involving women from the continent.

“She used some religious African ceremonies, curses and voodoo to gain control over the women, all of whom are poorly educated,” said chief prosecutor Krister Petersson of the chamber of the international prosecutor.

“They were then forced into prostitution, first in Malmö and then in Stockholm,” he added.

Petersson submitted the indictment to Stockholm District Court on Wednesday.

When she arrived in Sweden, the 16-year-old girl learned that she owed the 29-year-old woman in charge of the operation €60,000, or nearly 600,000 kronor ($76,150). The debt would be repaid by selling sex to Swedish men.

Even after the debt was repaid, she was forced to continue to pay half of her earnings to the 29-year-old woman, who is now charged for human trafficking. The price for the sexual services varied from 2,000 kronor ($270) to up to 10,000 kronor for an entire night.

Advertisements for the services provided by the women, who were equipped with mobile phones, were placed on the Internet. They then serviced the clients either in an apartment furnished by the 29-year-old or made house calls.

Several of the 29-year-old’s accomplices were also charged with trafficking or aiding and abetting the crime. Others were accused of pimping of varying degrees. They performed functions, such as set up web pages, driving the women to clients or renting out apartments at exorbitant prices as brothels.

The police raided the ring in December. The teenager was then cared for by social services, which arranged for a residence for her. She has since been granted permission to stay in Sweden.

About 20 clients have been identified and either been given orders of summary punishment for crimes against the law against buying sex or will be prosecuted later.

The trial begins next Monday in Stockholm District Court and will continue until November.

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Swedish pastor admits to buying sex

A pastor from central Sweden has been convicted of buying sex from a prostitute after being nabbed when police broke up a major pimping operation.

Swedish pastor admits to buying sex

The pastor, a man in his early fifties, was ordered to pay a fine of 15,000 kronor ($2,300) and has been temporarily relieved of his duties with the Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan).

“What I did was really stupid and it’s something I deeply regret,” the pastor told the Expressen newspaper.

The pastor was home by himself looking at the websites of various escort services before deciding to call one of the numbers.

He requested to have a woman come to his home address where police, who had been tracking a suspected pimping operation with ties to Romania, were on hand to watch the pastor let the woman into his home.

The pastor then paid the woman 1,500 kronor before they both disrobed and engaged in sexual intercourse, he admitted to police during a subsequent interrogation, Expressen reported.

The case was tied to a large pimping operation through which young women from Romania were sold for sex to clients in Sweden. The operation was managed through a call-centre based in Romania.

“These woman were used as if they were on a conveyor belt,” detective Anders Nilshagen of the police’s human trafficking section told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Four men have since been convicted for their role in running the pimping ring, which was in operation for 18 months.

Meanwhile, he pastor has been temporarily stripped of his duties in the wake of the sex buying scandal.

“This can’t happen. It’s totally unacceptable,” Church of Sweden spokesman Pär Sandberg told DN.

The cathedral chapter is set to review the pastor’s case later this month and take a stand on his future with the church.

TT/The Local/dl

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