…As Former Trump adviser, Stone arrested***
Five people have been arrested in Italy for smuggling Nigerian women into Europe and forcing them into prostitution, Italian Carabinieri Police said on Friday.
The suspects, apprehended in the Sicilian town of Messina, were part of an organised crime racket that smuggled “at least 15’’ unaccompanied minors into “several European Union countries’’ via Libya and Sicily, a statement said.
The syndicate relied on an Italian accomplice who worked in a migrant charity.
According to police, he would help the criminals trace the women after their arrival in Sicily and contribute to forcing them into prostitution.
The Carabinieri said they documented criminal activity during the 2015 to 2017 period.
They said “black magic’’ rituals would be performed on the young women before they left Nigeria, to force them into submission.
Some of the arrested also dabbled in heroin trafficking, police said.
Sex trafficking is a well-known problem among female Nigerian migrants.
In 2017, a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said three-quarters of the roughly 11,000 Nigerian women who landed in Italy in 2018 may have been taken there by sex traffickers.
The IOM, a UN agency, said it was difficult to make precise estimates because most victims of the sex trade are afraid to speak up.
They are also afraid to seek assistance because they are: ashamed; submissive to traffickers accompanying them on migrant boats; or fear retaliation against their relatives.
In the meantime, Roger Stone, a former adviser to US President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday under an indictment issued by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering, according to the office of Mueller, who is conducting the Russia investigation.
It was the first move in months by the special prosecutor probing Russian collusion in the 2016 US election and whether Trump and his people tried to obstruct justice.
FBI agents arrived at Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdade, Florida early Friday to take him into custody, CNN said.
One agent pounded on the door and said, “FBI. Open the door,” CNN said.
Stone was to appear in court in Florida on Friday morning.
Additional report from AFP