They are first taken to a juju priest who performs some rituals.

They are then sworn to secrecy while taking oaths that they will repay the investment made in purchasing their tickets to Europe.

These masterminds imbibe loads of fear in the hearts of their victims before they begin their journey across the Atlantic. 

Seven people, who police said, lured Nigerian women in Italy into prostitution “with voodoo rituals” have been arrested in Nuoro, Sardinia.

A statement by the police said the traffickers allegedly performed voodoo rituals on the women to make them swear to repay the cost of the trip to Europe, and warn them that their relatives would die if break the covenant.

“Once in Italy, criminals would help the women escape from migrant centres and take them to the north-western city of Turin, where they would be told that prostitution was the only way in which they could repay their debt.

“Some women were asked to pay as much as 30,000 euros ($35,200),’’ the police said.

On July 22, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had issued a report saying that 75% of the about 11,000 Nigerian women who landed in Italy in 2016 may have been taken there by sex traffickers.

The IOM, a UN agency, said it was difficult to make precise estimates because most victims of the sex trade are afraid to speak up and seek assistance because of shame.