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Tuesday, 4 September, 2001, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Senegal-Libya sex row deepens
Nancy and Leila Campbell Badiane
The alleged women traffickers arrive in court
Senegal has recalled its ambassador to Tripoli following an alleged attempt to smuggle 100 young women to Libya.

Dakar also says it will limit transit visas for Libyan nationals and has reduced the staff in its Tripoli embassy to a minimum.

Last Tuesday, the 100 so-called "models" were apprehended at Dakar airport as they attempted to board a charter plane, saying they were going to take part in a cultural show in Libya.

Oumou Sy
Fashion designer Oumou Sy has spent four days in police cells for complicity
Three women, including prominent fashion designer, Oumou Sy, have been detained since Friday, charged with procurement and complicity over the sex ring.

Ms Sy is an entrepreneur with varied business interests - she helped establish one of Dakar's first internet cafes, Metissacana.

Two French nationals of Senegalese origin, Nancy and Leila Campbell Badiane, have been charged with organising "the international prostitution racket".

Some Senegalese officials have suggested that the Libyan diplomats in Dakar might have been involved in getting Libyan visas for the women.

Poverty or prostitution?

The Libyan embassy has vehemently denied this accusation.

A traditional band was eventually allowed to travel to Tripoli after the police had established that their invitation was genuine.

The cultural show was part of celebrations to mark the 32nd anniversary of the coup which brought Colonel Gaddafi to power.

The 100 women were set free after giving statements to the police.

The BBC's Mark Doyle says the trafficking of young West African women to Europe is very common.

He says that they are first taken to north Africa from where they continue a journey which they hope will take them out of poverty.

Instead they often end up as sex workers on the streets of Paris or Milan.

See also:

30 Aug 01 | Africa
African sex ring busted
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Senegal
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