UN to review Spain’s treatment of sex-trafficking victim

A woman waves to detainees inside the CIE Aluche in Madrid. Archive photo: Ángel Navarrete / Público
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• Madrid-based NGO files complaint with UN over Nigerian woman’s deportation
• Women’s Link Worldwide says Spain failing to protect victims of sex-trafficking

Madrid-based international women’s rights organization Women’s Link Worldwide has filed a complaint with the United Nations Committee Against Torture over the treatment by Spanish government agencies of a Nigerian woman who was trafficked into Spain, forced into prostitution, then detained and summarily deported while pregnant, a case which the organization says highlights the lack of protection provided by Spain for victims of sex-trafficking.

Women’s Link Worldwide, an international organization founded in 2001 that relies on legal action to promote social change and defend and advance the rights of women and girls worldwide, says that after being trafficked into Spain in 2007 and forced into prostitution, Gladys John was detained by police when pregnant in 2010 and held at Madrid’s controversial Aluche Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros detention center for 10 days prior to being summarily deported back to Nigeria without a proper hearing.

The organization, which was providing the Nigerian woman with legal counsel at the time of her deportation, said in its claim to the U.N. anti-torture committee submitted Friday that Ms John was first “tortured” by the organized ring that trafficked her into Spain and forced her into prostitution, and then “faced torture again” when she was detained and treated like a criminal instead of receiving protection from Spanish authorities. According to the organization, Spain routinely fails to protect sex-trafficking victims in keeping with its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Spain has been a signatory since 1987.

In a 2014 report, Trafficking of Nigerian Women and Girls: Slavery across Borders, Women’s Link detailed the exploitation to which many Nigerian women and girls are subjected, having been promised legitimate employment in Spain only to find themselves forced into sex-slavery on arrival to pay off their debt to the traffickers. But, Women’s Link and other victims’ rights organizations say Nigerian women may be only the most visible victims of rings that routinely traffic women into Spain in order to force them into prostitution, with women from other countries including Rumania, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay also frequently victimized by the gangs that operate both from within Spain and the women’s home countries.

► Read More in Spanish at Público and Cadena SER …

► Read More in English at Trust.org/Thomson Reuters Foundation …

► Read More in English about Women’s Link Worldwide, here …

► Read Women’s Link report in English on trafficking of Nigerian women …

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