Roadmap to Hell

Essay / Current Affairs

ROADMAP TO HELL: Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast
by Barbie Latza Nadeau
March 2018 – Oneworld

From sex slaves to drug mules, The Daily Beast‘s Rome Bureau Chief uncovers a terrifying and intricate web of criminal activity right on Europe’s doorstep.

Caught between Camorra gunrunners selling to ISIS and Nigerian drug gangs along Italy’s picturesque coast, each year thousands of refugees and migrants are lured into their underworld, forced to become sex slaves, drug mules or weapon smugglers. In this powerful exposé, investigative journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau follows the weapons trail, meets the trafficked women trapped by black magic, the brave nuns who try to save them and the Italian police who turn a blind eye as the most urgent issues facing Europe play out in broad daylight.

Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American journalist in Rome who has spent the last 20 years covering crime in Europe, Italian politics, the Vatican, the refugee crisis and women’s issues for NewsweekThe Daily Beast, and CNN. Her previous book about the murder trials of Amanda Knox, ANGEL FACE (2010), was adapted for film by Michael Winterbottom (The Face of an Angel, 2015), starring Kate Beckinsale as a journalist based on Barbie herself.


“Barbie Latza Nadeau dissects the intricate relationship between those who make a living from organized crime, terrorism and sex trafficking with an astute understanding of the Italian culture that allows it to prosper. The book takes you through the seedy world of prostitutes and their clients, introduces you to nuns and saviors and exposes one of Italy’s darkest secrets.” ―Michael Winterbottom, filmmaker, Welcome to SarajevoThe Road to GuantanamoA Mighty Heart

“This is a terrifying and heartbreaking book. So many of the world’s most alarming issues converge on one street to the south of Naples: enforced prostitution (slavery), human trafficking and the refugee crisis, the Mafia, the drug and arms trade and Jihadi terrorism. Nadeau connects them, showing us a vast, organised economic system and everything required to maintain it: a willingness to exploit desperation, unimaginable brutality and, crucially, the indifference of the “clients,” the authorities … and the rest of us. And then she introduces us to the girls themselves – and to the extraordinary women who try to help them, their compassion pervading the entire story. I will find it difficult, from now on, to contemplate today’s world without thinking about what goes on in Castel Volturno.” ―Colin Firth