'Key member' of voodoo trafficking gang arrested in Manchester

A woman suspected of helping run a sex trafficking gang who made victims eat raw chicken hearts in voodoo rituals has been arrested in Manchester.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the Spanish woman was a "key member" of an international sex ring.

Police in Spain arrested 11 people as part of the network that allegedly trafficked women from Nigeria.

The Spanish woman arrested in Manchester was held under a European Arrest Warrant on 2 February.

She is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London in April.

'Fingernails pulled out'

Four women were rescued during the raid on the house in Miles Platting near Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Greater Manchester Police and the NCA also arrested two Nigerian men, aged 34 and 39, at the house on suspicion of drugs and immigration offences.

Spanish investigators believe the gang recruited women in Benin City under false promises of a better life.

They claim the victims were trafficked to Spain, forced into sex work to pay off their "debt" and controlled through voodoo rituals.

The women allegedly had their fingernails and pubic hair pulled out and were told their families would be killed if they did not co-operate, police said.

Liam Vernon of the NCA's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit said: "Through close cooperation with the Spanish authorities and Greater Manchester Police, we have located and arrested a woman believed to be a key member of a network that trafficked and forced vulnerable women into prostitution against their will.

"Criminals involved in modern slavery seek out and exploit vulnerable individuals. They treat their victims as a commodity that can generate income over and over again."

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