Roadmap to Hell is a timely and devastating examination of the criminal underworld. Barbie Latza Nadeau’s journalistic, snappy, and easy-to-digest work breaks down exactly how West African women are lured to Italy by Nigerian pimps and madams, who, in turn, work closely with Italian organized crime outfits like the Camorra and the Cosa Nostra.
While there is no overarching narrative, Roadmap to Hell provides snapshots of the growing sex-trade industry in Italy. Its content is salacious. Nadeau follows and interviews dozens of Nigerian sex slaves, Italian journalists, and political figures, and at least one unembarrassed john who prowls the streets of Castel Volturno.
Although she is a well-regarded journalist, Nadeau breaks with journalistic conventions at times, clearly favoring her immigrant subjects and openly admitting her revulsion for the customers who keep the sex trade going. Nadeau’s center-left opinions do not stop her from admitting that right-wing parties in Europe have a point when they argue that open-borders-style immigration policies have led to an uptick in crime, demographic problems, and a growing relationship between organized crime and jihadist terrorism.
The book shows how Italy’s endemic corruption and its two-faced reaction to the migrant crisis are causing a flowering of Nigerian crime in Italy’s already impoverished and crime-ridden south. Many Nigerians are economic immigrants, and Nadeau suggests that Italy’s monoculture can do more to integrate the thousands of Nigerians who arrive on the shores of Sicily and southern Italy every month.
Roadmap to Hell is a crusading piece of journalism that exposes the human face of Italy’s growing sex-slavery industry. This is a heart-wrenching volume that nevertheless manages to be clear-eyed about the nature of drug addiction, superstition, and illicit practices.
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