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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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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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