French police have broken up a Nigerian prostitution ring operating in several French cities, they said Wednesday. The women were "modern-day slaves" forced to trade in sex to pay for their passage to France, sources said.
Twelve people have been charged with pimping, organised people trafficking and money-laundering in Bordeaux, the sources say.
Most of the gang's leaders in France are of Nigerian origin and have been arrested, they claim.
The women had to pay an average of 600 euros a month to pay off a debt of 60,000 euros undertaken in Nigeria so as they could be smuggled into France.
Most of them have reportedly not given evidence for fear of reprisals against their families who are still in their country of origin, where the gang's godfathers live.
Some are said to have been passed on to other gangs to continue to pay their debt.