Human Trafficking Women Threatened Nigerian Women with ‘Voodoo Curses’

Spanish authorities recently busted a human trafficking ring that was bringing women from Nigeria and forcing them to work as prostitutes. They coerced the women, in part, by threatening them with “Voodoo curses” if they didn’t comply. According to the Associated Press,

The victims, aged 25 to 35, were forced to pay large sums of money to the gang members, who told the women they would go mad or have their souls destroyed if they disobeyed orders given during Voodoo rituals that were held in Nigeria involving pieces of their fingernails or hair.

How utterly bizarre.


Spanish police arrest Voodoo extortion gang. Associated Press, May 23, 2009.

Transparency International: 1 in 10 Families Worldwide Pays Bribes

To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day in December, Transparency International released the results of its 2004 Global Corruption Barometer highlighting ongoing corruption, especially in the developing world. The survey found that worldwide, 1 in 10 people said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe in the previous year.

The survey polled more than 50,000 people in 64 countries people between June and September 2004.

The rate of bribery was, not surprisingly, much higher in developing countries. For example, in Cameroon more than 50 percent of respondents said they or a member of their household had paid a bribe.

In Nigeria, Kenya, Lithuania and Moldova, 1 in 3 respondents said they or a household member had paid a bribe.

There was some good news, such as surprisingly low levels of bribe paying in South Africa, as well as a surprising level of corruption in Greece where 11 percent of those polled admitted they or a household member had paid a bribe.

Transparency International board member Akere Muna, who heads up the organization’s Cameroon branch, said in a press release,

It is time to use international co-operation to enforce a policy of zero tolerance of political corruption, and to put an end to practices whereby politicians put themselves above the law — stealing from ordinary citizens and hiding behind parliamentary immunity.

Political parties and politicians they nominate for election are entrusted with great power and great hopes by the people who vote for them. Political leaders must not abuse that trust by serving corrupt or selfish interests once they are in power.

According to the BBC, the World Bank estimates that as more than $1 trillion is paid out annually worldwide in bribes.


One in 10 families ‘pays bribes’. The BBC, December 9, 2004.

Political parties are most corrupt institution worldwide according to TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004. Press Release, Transparency International, December 9, 2004.

Nigeria to Resume Polio Vaccination

Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Nigeria’s Kano state this month removed an 11-month ban on polio vaccination in that state. Polio vaccinations were halted in August 2003 after absurd claims that the polio vaccine was part of a plot to make Nigerian girls infertile.

The ban on vaccinations saw a marked increase in polio cases in Nigeria which quickly spread to neighboring countries, including several that had previously been declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

Nigeria has reported 430 cases of polio since the beginning of the year, accounting for almost 90 percent of cases worldwide. Ten other sub-Saharan countries have also reported cases of polio this year, compared to just two last year.


Nigerian state revokes ban on polio vaccine. Associated Press, July 20, 2004.

Islamic Nigerian state ends ban on polio vaccinations. Associated Press, August 1, 2004.

WHO Investigating Possible Polio Outbreak in Nigeria

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the World Health Organization is investigating a possible outbreak of polio in the northern Nigerian state of Kano.

Kano officials suspended polio vaccination efforts in 2003 over concerns that the vaccine was a plot against Nigerian Muslims.

Now, 20-30 suspected cases of polio have been reported in the town of Rogo. Meanwhile polio cases also appear to be spreading out from Nigeria into surrounding African nations — a total of 10 African countries that had been certified polio-free have reported at least 1 case of polio in the last 12 months.

All of the latest and best medicine available is still of little avail when met with irrationality and unreason.


WHO investigates suspected polio outbreak in Kano. United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks, July 6, 2004.

SARS Con Man Get Scammed

According to this Boston Herald story, 38-year-old Weldong Xu scammed friends and co-workers out of more than $600,000. He claimed he was raising the money to help launch a SARS research institute in China, but he allegedly pocketed the money.

Well, not quite. According to police, Xu decided to parlay his scam into big winnings by sending it all to a Nigerian e-mail scammer who promised him $50 million profit.


Scientist nabbed for SARS scam: Cops: Suspect bilked pals. Jennifer Rosinski, Boston Herald, March 31, 2004.

WHO Reports Polio Setback

At the same time that some countries are complaining that the polio vaccine is dangerous, the World Health Organization announced in January that new cases of polio had been discovered in two African countries where WHO had previously labeled the disease as eradicated.

Polio cases were discovered in both Benin and Cameroon in early January, apparently having spread from Nigeria. Nigeria still experiences about 300 cases of polio annually and Muslim leaders in northern Nigeria have led a local fight against the polio vaccine saying it contains hormones that are used to sterilize girls.


West Africa Polio Cases a Setback for WHO’s Eradication Plan. UN Wire, January 12, 2004.

UN says polio is spreading to countries where it had been eradicated. Press Release, United Nations, January 9, 2004.