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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
African sex ring busted
West African model in Niger
Some models had genuine invites to a cultural show
By West Africa Correspondent Mark Doyle

Police in the West African state of Senegal say they have broken up a sex racket that was to involve the trafficking of a plane load of young women.

The Senegalese authorities said they had stopped about 100 women from boarding a charter plane to Libya, from where they would probably have been taken on to Europe for use as prostitutes.

The first public sign that something was wrong was when more than 100 well dressed young women, described as looking like fashion models, gathered at the airport in the Senegalese capital Dakar, intending to board a plane to Tripoli.

At first there was some confusion because some of the girls had official invitations to model West African fashions at a cultural festival in Libya.

These models were allowed to proceed on their journey.

But according to the police, about 100 other young women at the airport were the victims of a prostitution ring.

Two French nationals of Senegalese origin, named by the authorities as the Campbell sisters, have been arrested, although they deny involvement in a sex ring.

The trafficking of young West African women to Europe is very common.

Many of them are taken first to north Africa from where they continue a journey which they hope will take them out of poverty but which often sees them end up as sex workers on the streets of Paris or Milan.

See also:

26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Senegal
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