Trafficking gangs are smuggling into Greece an increasing number of African women who are gradually taking the place of Eastern European women as sex workers, an international conference in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, heard yesterday. One of the most worrying aspects of this new trend is that trafficking ring members are allegedly exploiting the perceived potency of native African voodoo and spells to hold the women in their grip. «The women are told that if they do not follow orders, the spells will bring harm to their families, so they dare not speak out,» said Daniil Esdras, head of the Greek office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Esdras said hundreds of African women, mostly Nigerians, were working as prostitutes in Athens and Thessaloniki. Participants at yesterday’s conference, including experts from the EU and the FBI, discussed ways of boosting cooperation to curb sex trafficking and drug smuggling.