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CRIME

Madam uses ‘voodoo’ to exploit prostitutes

A 30-year-old woman accused of forcing young Nigerian women into prostitution with “voodoo magic” will face trial for human trafficking, Bonn police said on Thursday.

Madam uses 'voodoo' to exploit prostitutes
The contents of a 'voodoo packet.' Photo: Polizeipräsidium Bonn

German authorities were first alerted to the exploitation in the winter of 2009 when they arrested 20-year-old prostitute during a routine check at a Bonn bordello for having false identification.

She told officers that her “madam” had forced her into selling sex, handing over all of her earnings and not informing police using “voodoo magic” from the victim’s native country.

“Should she fail to adhere to this, she was threatened with sickness, madness and even death,” police said in a statement.

The madam reportedly used “voodoo packets,” which contained items such as finger nails, body hair, clothing and photos.

“The victims believe that the person who possesses these packets exercises power over them,” the police statement said.

Based on this report, police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia began a wider investigation, uncovering a network of smugglers, human traffickers and money launderers. Officers searched apartments in Berlin, Oberhausen, Duisburg, Essen and Hamburg, the statement said.

The voodoo madam was arrested this May in Koblenz and remains imprisoned on remand, while a second woman was arrested in Hamburg on similar charges.

The cases led to further investigations of human trafficking, money laundering, and violations of immigration laws.

Since then the police have concluded their investigation of the madam and the state prosecutor’s office has pressed charges.

“She will answer for herself before a court soon,” the police statement said.

The Local/ka

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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