Black Axe. The Nigerian mafia has set up shop in Germany.

Human smuggling and sexual exploitation constitute one of the most critical and devastating challenges facing contemporary society, especially in Europe. The involvement of criminal organisations in these inhumane acts has generated global alarm, particularly with the rise of Nigerian ‘secret brotherhoods’, including the dreaded ‘Black Axe’ group. This paper details the operations of these mafia networks, drawing on intelligence reports and victim testimonies, and provides an analysis of how these organisations have been able to extend their influence in Germany and beyond.

Historical and Geographical Context

The Origins of the Nigerian Mafias

Nigerian mafia groups, led by the Black Axe, have established a criminal business model that stretches from the coasts of Nigeria to the waters of the North Sea. These groups began to gain notoriety in the late 20th century, taking advantage of the political and economic turmoil in their home country to establish networks of human trafficking and other associated crimes.

Expansion into Europe

The refugee crisis and the open-door policy of several European countries over the last decade facilitated the infiltration and expansion of these networks on the continent. Italy, with its long coastline and geographical proximity to Africa, has become the main point of entry and operations for the Black Axe and other similar groups.

The Dynamics of Smuggling and Sexual Exploitation

Methods of Operation

The trafficking of young women is one of the cruelest facets of their activities. Victims, often lured with promises of legitimate employment in Europe, find themselves trapped in a network of sexual exploitation designed to pay off ‘debts’ imposed by their traffickers. These debts can amount to as much as 60,000 euros, an astronomical sum that forces them to submit to living conditions bordering on modern slavery.

Violence as a Tool of Control

The methods used to keep these women in submission are ruthlessly effective. They include beatings, torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse. Violence is not only applied to the victims, but also reaches extreme levels of brutality, such as killings and dismemberment of those who challenge or are perceived as threats to these organisations.

Social Impact and Governmental Response

Consequences for European Society

The increase in criminality associated with these mafias has generated a security crisis in several European cities. Germany, with a significant number of Nigerian asylum seekers, has seen these groups criminalise certain areas, complicating police and judicial efforts.

Criticisms of Immigration Policies

Stefan Schubert’s book ‘Die Destabilisierung Deutschlands’ and other similar analyses harshly criticise Germany’s post-2015 migration policy, arguing that it has inadvertently facilitated the expansion of these criminal networks. The lack of adequate controls and the indiscriminate inclusion of individuals under refugee status are points of intense controversy.

Strategies and Recommendations

It is imperative that European governments review their asylum and security policies in order to close the loopholes that allow criminal networks to infiltrate and operate. The implementation of stricter border controls, along with more rigorous screening of asylum seekers, could form the first line of defence.

In addition, greater cooperation between intelligence and security agencies in different European countries is crucial to dismantling these networks. Collaboration with the Nigerian authorities could also be key to attacking the problem at its source.


The challenge posed by the Black Axe and other Nigerian mafias in Europe is monumental, but not insurmountable. With a well-coordinated strategy and the commitment of affected states, it is possible to mitigate their impact and eventually dismantle these organised crime networks that cause so much suffering to victims and destabilisation to European societies.

Magazin, D. O. P. (n/d). DOP TV: Nigeria’s mafia in Germany – DW documentary discovers Black Axe. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from (2021, April 29).
Nigerian mafia groups have infiltrated Germany.