The world of Nigeria’s sex-trafficking ‘Air Lords’
Last year, the BBC’s Sam Piranty was given access by the Catalan police, Mossos D’Esquadra, to an investigation into a Nigerian sex-trafficking gang. He spoke to traffickers and women rescued from sexual slavery before filming an early morning raid in November, which led to 23 arrests. He also discovered that the gang is now using London as a gateway into Europe.
It’s 08:00 in the Catalan Police Headquarters on the outskirts of Barcelona and Xavi Cortes, head of the anti-trafficking unit, waits patiently for his 22 teams to confirm they are in position. Finally, he gives the order.
Two-hundred-and-fifty officers quietly climb out of their police vans. Single file, each team approaches a residential building watched by a few surprised neighbours.
On reaching the door, one of the masked police officers uses his fingers to count down. Three, two, one. The door is knocked down, the silence shattered, the officers rush inside.
The raid results in the arrest of the leaders of a Nigerian-based group running an international sex-trafficking ring in Barcelona. It’s known as the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC), or the Air Lords, and 23 people are now behind bars, with European Arrest Warrants issued for those who have left the country.