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Rudaw

World

Thousands of Nigerian girls sold into sex trade in Italy

By Associated Press 26/11/2017
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Thousands of underage Nigerian girls are being sold as sex slaves as they arrive in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The IOM said on Friday that more than 5-thousand women from Nigeria have arrived in Italy by sea this year and 80 percent of them are potential victims of sex trafficking.

In August, the IOM raised the alarm about the dramatic increase in young Nigerians being trafficked to Italy, pointing out that the numbers of potential sex-trafficking victims from Nigeria to Italy has shot up by 600 percent in the past three years and the number of Nigerian women arriving shows no sign of slowing.

According to IOM spokesman Flavio di Giacomo, the girls being brought to Italy from Nigeria are getting younger and younger.

According to aid workers, almost of all the victims of sex trafficking arrive in Italy with a phone number of a Nigerian connection, who usually comes to pick them up at the migrant centres and takes them off to work on the streets.

The girls are then informed that they have to pay back a debt of anywhere between 20,000 and 50,000 euros (23,800 and 60,000 US dollars) to those who helped them flee their countries before they can be free.

After that, they are forced out on the street, where they are paid 10 to 30 euros (12 to 36 US dollars) for each sexual act.

So far this year, various groups working to stop the trafficking have been able to save just over 250 young women from a life of selling their bodies on the street and put them in protection programmes.

But they say it is difficult to convince the girls not to call the numbers they have been given before fleeing conflict and poverty in their countries.

Just off the boat, that phone number is the only certainty they have in an unknown land.

Most of the girls come from Benin City in Nigeria and say they have been through a voodoo ceremony known as "juju" in Nigeria, where clippings of their hair and fingernails are taken and used in a black magic ritual to threaten them into obeying their exploiters.

Some of the girls say they are told if they do not pay back their debt something bad will happen to their family.

The girls then spend months travelling through the desert in Niger and Libya, and once in Tripoli, spend months in camps, detention centres and connection houses where they are often raped, tortured and abused before being loaded onto rubber dinghies bound for Italy.
  

Blessing Okoedion, a Nigerian woman who was forced into prostitution when she arrived in Italy has written a book called "The Courage of Liberty".

She also frequently speaks publicly about the problem of sex slavery and the trafficking of Nigerian women.

On Friday, Nigerian women were among the 620 migrants who were brought by an Italian Coast Guard ship to the Sicilian port of Messina.

According to the IOM, 5,204 Nigerian women arrived between January 1 and October 31 this year, representing 45 percent of the total number of women arriving in Italy by sea.


Comments

 
Kurdo | 27/11/2017
Why are they even traveling alone, get married and put on a burka. If your outside without a muslim husband then you will be sold.
Icheke Churchill | 27/11/2017
The course of all this is bad governance in Nig. Been helped and supported by EU governments especially British government, the system in Nigeria is so corrupt that say anything, what do you expect from the young girls when they stay years with out work no social help from the government or even no funds to pay their school fees go and check the backgrounds of this victims you will see they neither have enough to feed themselves to talk of going to school or learning any work so when they were convinced that they have the opportunities going to abroad to use their Godly gift of their body to make money and help other members of the family they will accept the offer this is not only Africans also some countries from eastern Europe like Bulgarians, Romanians Poland etc,they troop in Germany in thousands every day even there in Italy the Asian prostitute more only they migrate through another channel which the Italian has not yet discovered. So I will lay the blame on African and European leaders especially British and French government that is why we agitate for own state of Biafra to corn all menace practices in Nigeria been spearheaded by Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba government the people that doesn't have shame in their eyes. Anyway since international community don't want to do something about freedom of people in Africa they should continue to expect this scene.
Allison Barone | 27/11/2017
I agree with Kurdo. They bring the problems upon themselves and then expect others to rescue them.
Mehmet | 28/11/2017
Black people work better in chains like a bike.
Snowbird | 2/12/2017
Mehmet your human trash.
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