Police say their operations this year have revealed the presence in Italy of a host of Nigerian gangs with names such as the Black Axe, the Vikings, the Buccaneers, the Eiye and the Maphites.
The gangs have arrived in Italy as the number of Nigerian women sailing to the country from Libya has risen from 1,454 in 2014 to 10,624 between January and the end of November.
Of those, as many as 80% are forced to work as prostitutes, according to the International Organization for Migration.
With prices for sex with girls as young as 14 starting at around $10, 1 in 2 street prostitutes in Italy today is Nigerian.
Seventeen members of the Black Axe mafia were arrested last month, including the group's "head of zone" for Italy, taken into custody in Verona, and the "minister of defense" in Palermo. The latter was said to be responsible for singling out errant members for machete attacks.
"Our probe showed how gangs like the Black Axe are running the whole prostitution pipeline, which brings trafficked women from Nigeria to Italy," said an investigator in Palermo who declined to be named because he was not allowed to speak on the record.
Women are usually fooled into believing they will be given regular jobs in Europe by traffickers who stage voodoo rites in which the women promise to pay back the cost of their travel, authorities said.
Upon arrival, police said, the women are told they must work as prostitutes until they pay off debts of about $30,000. SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US VIA EMAIL: INFO@247NIGERIANEWSUPDATE.CO RECEIVE NEWS VIA OUR WHATSAPP, KINDLY TEXT +234 701 056 0394 TO ADD YOU CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL FOR NEWS UPDATE CLICK HERE TO JOIN US ON TWITTER FOR INSTANT NEWS UPDATE: @247NGNEWSUPDATE CLICK HERE TO JOIN MILLIONS AROUND THE GLOBE TO READ NEWS ON OUR FACEBOOK FAN PAGE FOR INSTANT UPDATES ON INSTAGRAM CLICK HERE RECEIVE INSTANT NEWS UPDATE VIA OUR BBM BROADCAST: D3EDEFDF PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>