A Nigerian woman, Joy Jeff have been extradited by Italian authorities to serve a 13-year jail term in Rome for her role in operating a prostitution ring in Italy. The extradition comes after a long-standing manhunt for Jeff, who had been on the run since 2010 for criminal conspiracy, enslavement, trafficking in people, exploitation of prostitution, and other offenses.
According to Italian Police, Jeff was among the few women on Italy’s most-wanted list, with the Italian police describing her as a prominent figure in the Nigerian mafia. She was a key figure in trafficking women to Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, where they were forced into prostitution through violence and threats.
Investigations into Jeff’s crimes date back to 2007, when she oversaw cross-border prostitution business among Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. Over the years, Jeff had built a vast network of criminal associates in Europe, with a significant presence in Italy, where she operated her illegal business.
Jeff was arrested in Nigeria on June 4, 2022, following an international warrant issued by Italy. Her extradition followed a treaty signed by Nigeria and Italy in 2020, which facilitated the transfer of criminal suspects between the two countries.
On Wednesday, Jeff was flown from Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, to Ciampino airport in Rome, where she was taken away in a wheelchair by police, according to a video released by the Italian police.
The extradition of Jeff is significant for Italian authorities, who have been clamping down on organized crime in the country. Italy has been stepping up its efforts to tackle organized crime, particularly the Nigerian mafia, which has been expanding its presence in the country over the years.
Italian law frowns upon organized prostitution in the manner in which Jeff perpetrated it in the country, although street prostitution is lawful. The country has been implementing tougher measures to combat human trafficking, which has been on the rise in recent years.
Italian news media, agenzianova, quoted the European country’s Deputy Director General of the Department of Public Security and Central Director of Criminal Police, Vittorio Rizzi, as saying, “Today, Africa is confirmed as a strategic area for the search for fugitives and the fight against organized crime. Developing African countries also represent elective places for the laundering of the illicit capital of organized crime, and Italy is committed at an international level to facilitate, through penal and administrative instruments, the tracing of the illicit assets of the mafias for their seizure and confiscation.”
In conclusion, the extradition of Joy Jeff is a significant milestone in the fight against organized crime and human trafficking, particularly the Nigerian mafia’s activities in Italy. It sends a strong message to criminal networks that the long arm of the law will catch up with them eventually.