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The courtroom before the start of the trial, November 6, 2019. 23 people are tried in correctional for their involvement in a vast network of prostitution of Nigerian women. ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP

In Lyon, in the center-east of France, the trial of 23 people involved in a vast network of prostitution of Nigerian women continues for the third day in a row. This Friday, November 8, it is Cynthia's turn to appear in the Criminal Court. An unusual and revealing profile of the functioning of the network.

With our special correspondent Lyon, Pierre Olivier

Cynthia is a 28-year-old Nigerian and, a rare phenomenon in a lawsuit, she is both a civil party and a defendant. Civil Party, because she was first forced to prostitute herself and therefore considers herself a victim of the network, but also prevented because once the debt was repaid, she would have become a "mama", in other words, a pimp.

For Hélène de Rugy of the Association l' Amicale du Nid , this system is one of the methods used by Nigerian networks to continue over time:

" It's the tactics of the networks to prolong their hold on the victims, they make them rise in rank. It is a comparison that is perhaps daring, but who speaks to me : it is the comparison with the concentration camps of the Second World War. When there are victims who experience a situation of constant violence, some are called kapo and see only as the only solution to escape this violence that exercise themselves in turn. It's the same type. These victim-perpetrators are still under the influence of the networks, they see only as the only solution that to rise in rank in the network. "

This Friday, Cynthia will speak as a defendant, but for her defense, she could well present itself as a victim of the network and make revelations: a dual role that the court will have to clarify with precision.

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