CATANIA, Italy, Nov 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Italian prosecutor Lina Trovato first came across a sex trafficking suspect called “Mummy”, she sensed she was onto something especially sinister.
The code name had appeared several times in wiretapped conversations between Nigerian gang members in Italy and their apparently female boss back in the West African state.
“If one of the (trafficked sex worker) girls went astray, the agents in Italy always informed ‘Mummy’ – otherwise known as the Queen Bee of Nigerian trafficking – so she could keep them in line,” Trovato told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Nigerian crime gangs have proliferated in Italy, controlling an extensive network of prostitutes and ordering them “on demand” from Nigeria, Italian police and prosecutors say.
Police have already arrested six people in the Italian cities of Rome, Genoa and Catania. The six are awaiting trial.
But now the Nigerian gangs, who have been active in Italy for more than a decade, are taking on increasingly violent tactics, including knife crime and even forging close relations with notorious mafia groups, the Cosa Nostra and the Camorra, law enforcement agencies in Italy say..