– We believe that we have uncovered a major Nigerian network that has played a key role in organizing the prostitution market in Bergen for many years. And in that regard, we have arrested two people, a man and a woman who has been active in this business, says police attorney Rudolf Christoffersen to TV 2.
Christoffersen noted dozens of women have been exploited for several years based on the investigation and the crime network has earned millions from these women.
– Millions of Norwegian Kroner was sent out of the country from Bergen via Western Union and other money transaction companies to people who are linked to a network in countries such as Nigeria, Spain and other European countries, said Christoffersen.
Key person not arrested
The police believes that a Nigerian woman has controlled operations in Bergen since 2005. She is wanted internationally, but they have not been able to detect her.
The police attorney thinks the real problem is that many who are involved in human trafficking are domiciled and residing legally in Norway. It makes it easier for criminal organizations to engage in human trafficking.
– The man accused in the case is a Norwegian citizen, originally from Nigeria but has lived in Bergen for many years. He has, in our opinion had a role in relation to the victims in this case where he was responsible for the organization and assisted in facilitating this woman to be exploited for prostitution, said Christoffersen.
The accused man risks up to 10 years in prison if the court accepts the accusations from prosecutors.
– What scares me is the brutality and cynicism behind human trafficking and how well organized this business is. There are high profit, low risk of being caught, and you get a low penalty even if you are caught, says Christoffersen.
Police investigations show that criminal networks work together with residents of the city where the exploitation of women occurs.
– It seems that people in the network reside legally in Norway and several have gained Norwegian citizenship. They have access to apartments, are students or work and have a well established reclaims, addss Rudolf Christoffersen.